This weekend’s third annual Dixie Softball Angels (ages 9-10) All-Stars World Series serves as a homecoming of sorts for Spring Hill skipper Scott Budlove.
Budlove served two of a six-year hitch in the Marine Corps at the Millington Naval Air Station as part of the air crew.
He enjoyed the peaceful serenity of Millington (about 35 miles north of Memphis), which is a mere two miles from this weekend’s 12-team World Series at Nancy Lane Park in Atoka, Tenn.
“I loved it there,” recalled Coach Budlove. “It was a lot like home (Chicago). It got real hot during the summer in Millington.”
The Angels “X-Play” field includes 12 teams in a double-elimination format and runs from Saturday-Wednesday (weather permitting).
Since 2001, the Spring Hill Angels have captured one World Series crown in Traditional Play once, in 2010 in Vancleave, Miss.
But this is Budlove’s first trip and he said he has a little nervous anticipation.
“The butterflies are there, but I have 12 little girls that are looking out after me,” Budlove said. “I’ve told them they’ve all had about a 1,000 at-bats, when we go to Tennessee it’s the same game, just at a different stadium.”
Despite being up against some of the best teams, Budlove said his team is focused.
“My goal is to win this,” Budlove said. “We can’t go into this any other way. I ask, ‘Why not us?’ Since districts, I’m not satisfied, neither are the girls. We’re facing 11 of the best teams in the country; I’m honored to lead this group.
“Beginning Saturday, it’s all about building memories,” he said.
The 11 other teams in the tournament are Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and host Atoka, Tenn. Alabama is the defending tourney champion.
This year’s Spring Hill Angels All-Stars feature: 3B/OF Kaitlyn Black, SS/2B/OF Faith Budlove, P/SS Jennifer Hackett, 2B/OF Alexis Lendo, OF Karlee Plensdorf, P/2B/OF Victoria Ratigan, 2B/OF Ava Rozsa, C/OF Sabrina Sessa, 1B/OF Kelsey Shumate, OF Alexis Spring, C/OF Mariah Spring and 1B/OF Alyssa Wheeler.
Budlove will be assisted by Kerri Lendo and Joe Ratigan.
After capturing the rugged District 4 Tournament at Spring Hill, Budlove’s crew (7-1 overall) steam rolled its three opponents at states in Okeechobee, 43-0.
Spring Hill, aka Team Florida, opens at 9 a.m. Saturday against North Carolina.
“Beginning Saturday, we’ve got to win one inning at a time,” said Budlove, on his team’s approach. “The key is not beating ourselves.”
Budlove believes he enters the World Series without being tested at the state level.
“Going to Worlds without being tested at states is a hindrance,” he said. “In our district, any one of three teams could have fared well at states.
“I would have liked being tested on the road. That’s a whole different animal,” Budlove said. “When you’re on the road and living out of a suitcase, things are different. There’s no comfort level. The way we went through states there was never a question of advancement. The credit belongs to the girls; they ran through states like a buzz saw.”
AT A GANCE
WHAT: Third annual “X-Play” Dixie Softball World Series.
WHO: Twelve teams in a double-elimination format featuring: Alabama, Georgia, Spring Hill, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and host Atoka, Tenn.
WHERE: Nancy Lane Park.
WHEN: July 26-30 (weather permitting)
2014 Spring Hill Angels (ages 9-10)
NO. NAME POSITIONS
2 Alexis Lendo* 2B/OF
3 Faith Budlove SS/2B/OF
4 Alexis Spring OF
5 Ava Rozsa 2B/OF
7 Mariah Spring C/OF
11 Alyssa Wheeler 1B/OF
12 Sabrina Sessa* C/OF
13 Kaitlyn Black 3B/OF
14 Victoria Ratigan* P/2B/OF
21 Jennifer Hackett* P/SS
23 Karlee Plensdorf OF
26 Kelsey Shumate 1B/OF
* Denotes returning Angels All-Star.
Head Coach – Scott Budlove
Assistant Coach – Kerri Lendo
Assistant Coach – Joe Ratigan
The Road to Angels (ages 9-10) “X-Play” World Series at Atoka, Tenn.
District 4 Recap at Spring Hill’s Anderson Sports Complex
Spring Hill 5, Wesley Chapel 1
West Pasco 7, Brooksville 6
Brooksville 13, Wesley Chapel 10
West Pasco wins by forfeit over Spring Hill
(Spring Hill did not report in its substitutions)
Spring Hill 8, Brooksville 4
Spring Hill 2, West Pasco 0
Spring Hill 12, West Pasco 1 (4 Innings)
Belles (ages 13-15)/4 teams
West Pasco 11, Brooksville 4
Spring Hill 19, Wesley Chapel 12
Wesley Chapel 17, Brooksville 5
West Pasco 16, Spring Hill 4
Spring Hill 10, Wesley Chapel 8
West Pasco 8, Spring Hill 5
State Tournament Recap at the Okeechobee Sports Complex
Spring Hill 18, Avon Park 0 (2½ Innings)
Belleview 11, Okeechobee 1
Okeechobee 13, Avon Park 1
Spring Hill 15, Belleview 0 (3)
Belleview 8, Okeechobee 5
Spring Hill 10, Belleview 0 (2½)