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Debs off to a strong start

The Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Association (PEFYA) Debs All-Star team is off to a successful start in the state tournament reminiscent of what helped it reach the World Series last year.

Nine of the 12 players on this year’s team were among the 2016 Debs All-Stars that won the State Dixie Softball Debs All-Star Tournament and traveled to Alexandria, Louisiana for the World Series.

With their win Sunday, the PEFYA Debs improved to 2-0 in this year’s double-elimination state tourney held at the Dinwiddie Sports Complex in Sutherland. They faced the Powhatan All-Star team in a battle of unbeaten squads Monday evening with potential 6 p.m. games to follow on Tuesday and Wednesday against opponents to be determined.

Using a diversity of arms in the circle has been key to the team’s success so far.

“The first night we went with four different pitchers, and last night, we went with three different pitchers,” PEFYA Debs Manager David Schmidt said Monday.

Prince Edward-Farmville opened with a 9-3 victory over the Lunenburg All-Stars on Friday.

Hannah-Gray Schmidt got the start in the circle, throwing for two innings. She was relieved by Sierra Wharam, who pitched two more. Shauneice Beasley pitched the next two, and Mary Grace Amos threw for the final inning.

“In that game, all four of them were just spot on,” Manager Schmidt said.

The PEFYA Debs’ lead was never threatened during the game after they jumped out a 5-0 lead in the first inning and extended it to 8-0 in the second.

“In the Lunenburg game, our heavy hitters were Mary Grace Amos, Hannah-Gray and Lexi Marzloff,” Schmidt said.

Marzloff went 3-for-4, Hannah-Gray Schmidt went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Amos went 2-for-3.

After a bye Saturday, PEFYA defeated the Amelia All-Star team 8-2 on Sunday.

“The day off on Saturday affected us,” Manager Schmidt said. “We should have practiced. We came in on Sunday not as hot on the bat, and we got the win, but it was not our best performance.”

Prince Edward-Farmville held onto a narrow 3-2 lead until the fifth inning when, with the bases loaded, Gracie Hodges came up and hit a grand slam home run.

“She can come through when you need her,” Schmidt said. “She’s a very good ballplayer. Most of the girls I have on this team are really good ballplayers. We have probably six or seven girls (that) at any minute can hit one out of the park.”

Hodges went 2-for-3 with four RBIs for the game.

Beasley starred in the circle with her speed, pitching the final three innings after Hannah-Gray Schmidt and Wharam split the first four.