Preparing for the World Series

Published 5:25 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Both the Ponytails and Debs All-Star teams from the Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Association (PEFYA) have been raising funds and resting in preparation for their trips to play in their respective Dixie Softball World Series tournaments this weekend.

The PEFYA Debs, representing Virginia, will face North Carolina on Saturday at 9 a.m. in Debs World Series held in Alexandria, Louisiana.

The same day, the PEFYA Ponytails will play South Carolina at 2 p.m. in the Ponytails X-Play World Series held in Sumter, South Carolina.

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Win or lose, both PEFYA teams will play Sunday at a time to be determined.

Girls on both teams had vacations prepared for this week, which has meant no practice has taken place, but PEFYA Ponytails Manager Larry Conwell saw rest as a positive for his squad.

“We’ve been practicing every day since about May,” he said. “I think you need a break. It’d have been nice to have one or two practices here this week, but they got it.”

PEFYA Debs Manager David Schmidt said his team has plans to get some practice in once they get to Louisiana.

“Last year, we didn’t really know what to expect,” he said, “and this year, they’re ready to go, but we’re going in and we’re going to try to practice Friday there, because it’s totally different ball-playing in Louisiana, because they play on a grass infield.”

He explained that the infield is probably two inches of artificial turf, and the ball reacts to it differently on contact compared to anything his girls are familiar with.

“And the only time we’ve ever played on grass infield was last year at the World Series, so we’re going to go down and see if we can get some field time on Friday to practice,” he said.

Both PEFYA squads have been active this week with fundraising.

They participated in a joint fundraiser Tuesday evening in which they washed cars at Bojangles and La Parota Grill on South Main Street in downtown Farmville.

Conwell said that the team received the money they earned from the car wash, and the restaurants agreed to donate a percentage of their sales from that night to the teams as well.

“All the fundraiser was done together,” Schmidt said. “And what we’re doing is just going to split the money, and then when we come back from the World Series, when the weather breaks, we’re going to do a big fundraiser for the youth association just to kind of put money back in the pot for what money we couldn’t raise in this one week.”

The managers of both teams said the teams have been raising money from area businesses.

“We’re getting a lot of money from, like, grandparents,” Conwell said. “… Some of its coming from family members and friends.”

Conwell said his team needs to be in South Carolina by Friday for the opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. The plan is to begin the journey that day in the morning or around lunchtime.

Schmidt said the Debs team will be leaving Thursday from Bojangles at 3 p.m., and the plan is to drive through the night and arrive in Louisiana around 8 a.m. Friday morning.

Conwell said he has not been able glean any information about the South Carolina squad his team will be facing first.

Schmidt noted that he did have some information about the North Carolina team that will oppose the Debs.

“The only thing we know is this is the same team that made it last year to the championship game,” he said, adding that he has been told the squad has two girls that will start playing for the University of North Carolina in the upcoming season.

In last year’s World Series, the Prince Edward-Farmville Debs faced the team representing Florida and the host team, the latter of which went on to win the entire tournament.