Sweet taste of déjà vu

Published 10:11 am Thursday, July 20, 2017

The girls of the Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Association (PEFYA) Ponytails All-Star team have earned the right to enter the highest level of play in Dixie Softball, and for 10 of them, it is a return trip.

The PEFYA Ponytails defeated the Amherst All-Star team 6-4 in South Hill on Tuesday to win the state all-star tournament and advance to the 2017 Dixie Softball Ponytails X-Play World Series in Sumter, South Carolina.

The 11-team World Series tourney is set to begin July 29, and PEFYA, representing Virginia, will play South Carolina.

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Larry Conwell, PEFYA Ponytails manager, said he was happy for his players.

“They worked hard to get there, and they all played good enough,” he said. “They earned it.”

Two years ago, 10 of them reached the World Series as 9- and 10-year-olds in the Angels division of Dixie Softball.

After leading for most of the game Tuesday, PEFYA fell behind 4-3 in the top of the sixth and final inning. In the bottom of the inning, Kyla Edmonds and Danner Allen were walked, and they both advanced on a passed ball. Then Alani Walton came up to the plate and hit a walk-off three-run inside-the-park home run.

Prince Edward-Farmville advanced to the state title game after having defeated the Amelia All-Stars 12-1 on Monday. The game ended after three innings due to the mercy rule.

Meredith Schmidt hit an inside-the-park home run, and Brooke Conwell and Olivia Elam each contributed a triple.

In their first matchups against Amherst and Amelia during the tourney, the PEFYA Ponytails won 12-6 on Sunday and 8-7 on Saturday, respectively.

They opened their state play with an 8-5 victory over the Emporia All-Star team.

The PEFYA Ponytails have yet to lose this summer, holding an 8-0 record after the state and district tournaments.

Thinking about the World Series and what his players did to get there, Conwell said, “I think it’s just amazing these girls are going to two of them in their lifetime.”

He expects them to appreciate the experience a little bit more this time.

“When you’re older, you appreciate things different,” he said.