The Arkansas Playmakers, a Babe Ruth softball team of players from Hamburg, Crossett, Monticello, Dewitt, and Bastrop, La., captured its third consecutive regional championship qualifying the team for its third trip the the Babe Ruth Softball World Series on August 9 in Wilson County, North Carolina.
From their opening game to their final game in the Babe Ruth Southwest Regional Tournament in Luling, La., the Playmakers dominated the rest of the field in the U-16 bracket.
Destiny Bolen, of Hamburg, tossed a no-hitter in the Playmakers 7-0 victory over Del Rio, Texas and pitched a 1-hitter in their 15-0 rout of St. Charles, La. In her final three games for the Playmakers, Bolen finished with 25 strikeouts.
Led by Hamburg’s Kayla Livingston at the plate, Playmaker batters proved to be a constant source of pain to opposing pitchers. Meanwhile, outfielders stepped up to lead the team’s strong defensive effort. With Kelbe Callaway, of Hamburg, and Bre Smith, of Monticello, joined by Jada Wilson, of Hamburg, over at the hot corner, the squad’s infield was also a solid defensive unit. Handling the catching duties was Hamburg’s Makenzie Pierce, a small girl with a strong arm.
“The defense was as good as it gets,” said Playmakers’ coach Chris Head. “I’m really proud of them.”
The tournament’s 16-and-under bracket was so dominated by the Playmakers that the top two individual awards went to Playmakers’ Destiny Bolen and Makenzie Pierce.
In five summer tournaments, the 2012 Playmakers won four trophies. At one point, the Playmakers enjoyed a 12-game winning streak in tournament competition. The team won one of its trophies by sweeping six consecutive wins as it battled through the loser’s bracket of a USSSA event. The team would eventually take the field in that tournament after midnight to pick up its sixth win and the tournament crown. All of the wins came within a 24-hour period that ended after 3 a.m.
Nothing so dramatic was needed in Luling, La. at the Babe Ruth Southwest Regional. In a tournament with teams from Louisiana and Texas, the Playmakers were led from the start until the final game.
Playmaker team members are: Makenzie Pierce, Kelbe Callaway, Kayla Livingston, Jada Wilson, Destiny Bolen, and Katie Daley, all of Hamburg; Aubree Head, of Crossett; Bre Smith, of Monticello; Katie Koen, of Dewitt; and Logan Roan, of Bastrop, La.
Coaches are Chris Head, Johnny Pierce and Todd Callaway.