The 12u Patterson Jacks (Louisiana) defended their Babe Ruth World Series softball title in scintillating fashion.
In the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs, a walk-off hit by Amaya Williams drove in Hannah Domangue to give Patterson a 3-2 victory vs. Jeffersontown (Kentucky) from Pineapple Park in Jensen Beach, Florida.
“We were thrilled,” Head coach Harris Dehart said. “This is the 12-year-old softball version of the Super Bowl.”
Williams finished 3-for-4 from the plate with two RBI. Domangue, Ella Hover, Emily Lipari each had a hit.
“They were just giving them the outside pitch and our girls just went swinging at it,” Dehart said.
Jeffersontown held a 1-0 lead until Patterson responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jeffersontown tied the game at two in the top of the sixth inning before Patterson continued its resilient ways in the final frame to claim the championship.
“We struggled. We had quite a few strikeouts and quite a few errors, which is not normal for us,” Dehart said. “We’re a really good team defensively and with our bats. We were able to pull through.”
In the regionals in Arkansas, Patterson rallied from a 10-2 second inning deficit to defeat one of the best teams in Louisiana by a score of 16-13.
It has been the constant theme for these cardiac kids.
In total, Patterson had to win their 12-team state tournament, seven-state regional event and stave off the competition in the Babe Ruth World Series to complete the journey of going back-to-back.
“This group of girls, when they get down, they bounce right back up,” Dehart said. “They’re always winning to scratch and fight their way back. You can’t hold them down.”
Patterson has a roster of tremendous depth. All 12 players made an impact towards the team’s success.
The Jacks roster consists of: Charlotte Callais, Ryleigh Chaisson, Bryleigh Dehart, Hannah Domangue, Laila Dugar, Ella Hover, Kamille Lightfoot, Emily Lipari, Layla Richoux, Kyla Samuels, Maddi St. Blanc, and Amaya Williams.
“Everybody contributed, even the subs we had that weren’t starting. We put them in the games and they made hits for us,” Dehart said. “We just all around had a really great group of girls that can play the field and hit with the bats. It helps a lot when you have so many great options to put in the lineup.”
This was Patterson’s third straight year at the Babe Ruth World Series. As a 10u squad, the Jacks earned third place.
A majority of the roster has developed amazing chemistry through playing together for the last five years.
“They know us and we know them. So it makes it that much easier. It’s big,” Dehart said. “When you take somebody from the outside and bring them in, they have to get to know the girls and the girls have to get to know them. With these girls, they already know what everyone is going to do on the field.”
Patterson is a small city in the St. Mary Parish of Louisiana. With only one recreational group that’s Babe Ruth sanctioned in their parish, the Jacks squad was selected from a total of 36 players from three teams.
What Patterson lacks in amount they make up for with a huge amount of heart and determination.
“A lot of places are parish wide but we aren’t,” Dehart said. “They’re picking through hundreds of girls and we’re picking through much less.”
Dehart expressed extreme gratitude towards the parents and his assistants (Jeff Lipari, Johnathan Lightfoot, Jeremy Callais and Ronald Dugar) for their support.
“It’s been a long road to get here, raising the money and everything to get to regionals. We had a 12-hour drive to get to the regionals in Arkansas then the 12-hour drive for the World Series,” Dehart said. “It’s hard but our community pulls through and helps us out. I want to thank all the great parents and I have a great group of coaches. Everybody pulls together and makes it work.”
While winning another championship was special, the biggest reward according to Dugan are the life lessons instilled through softball.
“Things are going to happen on the field that you aren’t going to like but you learn to work through them and deal with them,” Dehart said. “It’s just a good thing to see these girls come out here and overcome, because that’s what life is about.”
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