District Softball Champions Advance to Regionals

softball champs
Standing from left to right: Delaney Thomas, Vicksburg; Audrey Schau, Vicksburg; Danielle Diekman, Vicksburg; Kennady Simmons, Vicksburg; Emma Burnett, Edwardsburg; Jersie Dawson, Edwardsburg; Alexis Clanton, Edwardsburg; Alexis Wiskotoni, Edwardsburg; Kaydence Dawson, Edwardsburg; Hannah Johnson, Vicksburg; Kayla Mottl, Vicksburg; Torie Barga, Vicksburg; Sophie Evans, Vicksburg.

By Sue Moore

The combined Little League team of Vicksburg and Edwardsburg softball players ages 13-16 won the state of Michigan championship in the Senior Softball Division.  The team defeated Taylor/Melvindale in the 3rd game of a 2-out-of-3 series played in Taylor by a score of 12-0 on July 16.

They advanced to a regional tournament in South Bend, quite an accomplishment, according to District Coordinator Joanne Wilson the District coordinator. Had they defeated six other Central Region entries from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and the host team of South Bend, they would have advanced to a World Series in Delaware.

That didn’t happen. Weather was a factor in the tournament with multiple delays and reschedules, she said. The combined team finished fifth, just one win away from making the championship bracket. “Again, such a young team going against teams with multiple 15 and 16-year-old players, I am proud of their accomplishment and hope they return next year. They will build on this experience.

“This is only the 2nd time in 20 years that District 15 has had a softball team win a state and advance to a Little League Regional tournament,” Wilson said proudly.

Lisa Diekman, Vicksburg Little League president, explained that due to the limited number of players eligible and able to try out for the all-star team, Vicksburg and Edwardsburg decided it was necessary to combine to form a complete team. This combination was coordinated by Vicksburg Little League.

Tryouts were held on two occasions. Players were selected on their regular season statistics and performance during tryouts along with recommendations from their regular season managers. Two players had played for their high school teams: Danielle Diekman, a freshman, played on Vicksburg’s Varsity softball team.  Emma Burnett played on Edwardsburg’s JV team. Three players play travel on the Michiana Mystique from South Bend, two players on the NTF Nova in Three Rivers and one player on the Kalamazoo Kings, another player on the Niles Nitro, a player with the Battle Creek Elite and one on Harris Heat. The coaching staff includes Manager Rick Simmons (Vicksburg), 1st base Coach Deb Simmons (Vicksburg), Coach Heidi Wiskotoni (Edwardsburg), Coach Tom Shoupe (Edwardsburg) and Coach Jennifer Clanton (Edwardsburg). The combined group of players has been under their instruction since the middle of June.

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