Darlings to host state tourney

Published 12:18 pm Friday, July 12, 2019

The 2019 Dixie Softball Darlings State Tournament will be held at Central Middle School in Charlotte Court House starting Friday, hosted by the Charlotte County Darlings all-star team.

The Charlotte Darlings will be among seven teams competing, and Charlotte will receive the bye Friday. It will play its first game Saturday at 4 p.m. against the winner of Friday’s game featuring the Emporia and Bedford all-star teams.

The Charlotte All-Stars feature a good mixture across the Darlings division’s age range.
“We have, I think, about half 8-year-olds and about half 7-year-olds and then one 6-year-old,” Charlotte Darlings Manager Billy Barton said.

His squad was formed from two Charlotte County Dixie Softball regular season teams, and he has experience working with most of the girls.

“A big majority I’ve been working with since they were in T-ball,” he said.
Barton noted the all-star team has been together since the beginning of June, which is a long time.

“You can’t practice the girls every day at that age,” he said. “They’ll burn out quick. We’ve just been practicing a couple days a week.”

An accompanying feature of being the host team for a state tournament is that the team automatically has a berth in the tourney, advancing past the district tournament without having to participate in it.
Though it is nice to have a guaranteed state berth, Barton cited that the disadvantage for his team is that it was not able to gain valuable experience through play in the district tourney.

“However, the district winner for our district (is one) we played in the regular season, and we were able to compete, and we beat them every time we played them,” he said. “But they could have gotten better, and I think we’ll stack up somewhere in the middle.”

Barton and the Charlotte All-Stars will be familiar with some of the girls they will be playing, but for most of the teams, they will have to learn about them during the course of the event.

“We’ve been playing Appomattox, and they’re a real strong team,” Barton said. “Things will have to go our way to beat them, but other than Altavista and Appomattox, I really don’t know.”