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Darlings are good sports

The Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Association’s Darlings All-Star softball team went 0-2 in the Dixie Youth Darlings District I Tournament in Kenbridge to place fifth, but the girls were honored with the Sportsmanship Award.

PEFYA Darlings Manager David Schmidt said he was excited to see his players recognized for their character.

“They’re a good group of kids, and the parents in that group is a good group of parents,” he said. “But the way they went through the tournament losing, none of them were upset, and all of them went through it better than I expected.”

Both of the team’s games ended by the mercy rule, with an 18-7 loss to the Lunenburg County All-Stars on Friday and a 16-5 loss to the South Hill All-Stars on Sunday.

Schmidt said his players were hitting the ball, but “we were just hitting it to them.”

Age likely played a role in level of difficulty that the PEFYA team faced.

“We had a lot of young girls on that team,” Schmidt said. “I had four girls on that team that shouldn’t even be in that division yet.”

Darlings is an age division intended for girls who were 7 or 8 prior to Jan. 1.

“I had two girls that were 5, just turned 6, but they’re really good ball players,” Schmidt said. “We had a group of probably six girls on the team that were 8- to 9-year-olds, and then six of them on the team were at the lower end of the spectrum. And a lot of the teams we played, they were pretty much all 8- and 9-year-olds.”

The girls on the team enjoyed success on their respective teams during the regular season, as well, so they were not accustomed to losing. Nevertheless, they handled it well.

Schmidt said the Sportsmanship Award is something that the umpires and district directors vote on.

“After every game, they go in and they have a sheet that they have to check off (for) attitude, how the fans reacted, how the kids reacted during the game when they got out or if they were down a lot on the score, how they reacted towards being down,” Schmidt said.

Though this season ended with a couple of losses, Schmidt said he expects success in the next two years from his talented group of young players.