Hail to the district champs

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, July 3, 2019

I’d like to offer congratulations to a couple of district champions that have emerged during this year’s Dixie baseball and softball all-star season.

The Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Association (PEFYA) Majors All-Stars went 4-1 on their way to winning the five-team 2019 Dixie Youth Baseball Major League District 5 Tournament at the Dinwiddie Sports Complex in Sutherland.

On the same night in June that the Majors clinched their district championship, the PEFYA Belles all-star team won the three-team 2019 Dixie Softball Belles District 1 Tournament in South Hill, finishing with a 3-0 record.

Summarizing the PEFYA Majors All-Stars’ path to their title, they started June 21 by defeating the Charlotte County all-star team 10-5. Charlotte is always a challenge because the county is so successful at producing outstanding baseball players and because the team is consistently led by Manager Gary Walker.

On June 22, the PEFYA Majors experienced their only loss, but it took the Blackstone All-Stars extra time to defeat them. The final score was 7-5 after eight innings.

The next day, Prince Edward-Farmville won its rematch with Charlotte 12-7. After a bye June 24, the PEFYA boys had to defeat Blackstone on June 25 and 26, and that is exactly what they did, winning 3-2 and 12-6, respectively.

After becoming familiar with Mark Simon, who manages the PEFYA Majors All-Stars this year, I have developed a great deal of respect for and confidence in his leadership on the diamond. He has an intensity about him that helps push his players to be their best while mixing in plenty of encouragement as well.

“I can’t think of 12 kids I’d rather go to battle with than those 12 right there,” he said of his team. “I love them all. They’re all good kids.”

The PEFYA Major League all-star team will now play in the 2019 Dixie Youth Baseball Majors State Tournament in Lunenburg. The team’s first game is Friday at 2 p.m. against the Goochland All-Stars.

The PEFYA Belles all-star team has some familiar faces that have played together for a while and enjoyed consistent, outstanding leadership from Manager Larry Conwell.

Opening their district run June 24, the PEFYA girls defeated the Lunenburg County all-star team 16-9.

The next day, they contained the Dinwiddie all-star team and won 4-2.

On June 26, the Prince Edward-Farmville Belles competed in the championship game which ended up being a rematch with Lunenburg. They looked headed for their first loss when they entered the third inning trailing 9-5, but then they engineered a valiant rally to win 11-10.

“I was very happy for them,” Conwell said of his players. “They just never gave up, and they just played as a team. … They just kept playing as hard as they could, and they left it all out there.”

Conwell highlighted a great detail — which I loved — that was true of the clutch plays leading to the win.

“The last inning, DaNasia Dupuy, she got on,” he said. “And then her sister, Ti’Onna Dupuy, knocked her in for the game-winning run, so it was nice having sisters do that.”

The PEFYA Belles All-Stars now advance to play in the 2019 Dixie Softball Belles State Tournament, which starts July 12 in Rustburg.

TITUS MOHLER is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.