The WFC World Series, hosted by Savannah’s Paulson Stadium, just wrapped up play. Some of the best travel softball teams from all over the country participated and Bryan County was well represented by four teams in the tournament.
One of those teams, U16 Georgia Heat Elite featuring Richmond Hill’s Melanie Goolsby and Allison Harkins, came away with the first prize trophy. In addition to Georgia Heat, competing in the tournament were Coach Keith Hall’s U14 Richmond Hill Extreme Heat team, the U16 Effingham County-based Lady Outlaws which includes RHHS’s Stephanie Ortiz and BCHS’s Sarah Ryan and Rebecca Horton, and the U14 Pembroke-based Renegades.
Georgia Heat dominated every game they played by a large margin. They didn’t lose one game. The one game they tied, they came back to defeat that team in a later bracket.
This is the second World Series championship they’ve won; the prior was won the previous week in Myrtle Beach. They are currently playing another, which started yesterday, in Kansas City.
"Our pitching and defense carried us all year and our bats finally showed up during this tournament," said Georgia Heat Coach Bubba Hilton. "They’ve put it all together to create a pretty tough team."
Goolsby, who played third base for the first time here, bragged of the team’s batting lineup saying 1 through 9 were heavy hitters. One of those was Richmond Hill resident and Savannah Christian player Allison Harkins, who also played second base.
The Georgia Heat tied the first game of the WFC tournament with Indiana Elite 0-0. Goolsby said they played great, but were blocked from scoring. "Our defense and pitching was awesome, we just couldn’t get the runners around," she said.
They came back to beat the team 1-0 in the winner’s bracket.
The remaining game scores, all victories, speak for themselves: 6-0 over South Carolina Extreme, 4-0 over Kentucky Lady Rockers, 9-0 over Tennessee, 10-0 over Savannah Indians, 7-1 over Florida Total Impact, and an 11-1 championship game win over Evans County Dominators.
The only team that kept somewhat control of the team’s wild scoring spree was the Lady Outlaws, featuring RHHS and BCHS players. Georgia Heat Elite beat the Outlaws 3-1.
The Outlaws, unlike many teams, won the right to participate in the final day of play.
They had a rocky start which included narrow losses to Georgia Forsyth Storm, Indiana Lightning Elite, North Carolina Sandhill Storm. They won the following games: 3-2 over North Carolina in a second meeting and 4-1 over Georgia Stingrays. A close 5-4 loss to Evans County Dominators halted further advancement.
The Pembroke-based Renegades, coached by Steve Howard and also featuring Richmond Hill’s Hillary Roberts and Lauren Davis, racked up a couple victories. However, they suffered more losses than wins, which prevented them from final day play. Their losses were all by 1 to 2 points.
The wins garnered were 3-2 over Alabama Killin Time and 4-3 over Richmond Hill Extreme Heat.
Renegades Coach Steve Howard complimented the team for their effort.
"We had some missed opportunities, but the team played good and all were hitting. Not advancing just speaks highly for the level of competition at the event."
Coach Keith Hall and Richmond Hill Extreme Heat split their victories the first two days of play. They came back on Friday and started with a 3-0 win over Clark County Rockers before facing two consecutive losses to knock them out of the tournament.
"I’m so proud of them," Hall said. "I’ve never seen them play ball like this before." Hall added that RHHS Lady Wildcat head coach Jodi Regan was scouting the games which excited the team, as most of the girls hope to play on her team.