UNION COUNTY — Two local softball players will be headed to San Diego, Ca the week of July 27 to compete in the 14U ASA/USA National Tournament.
Abbie Valentine and Katelyn Petty, both members of the Union County High School Softball team, will participate in the tournament with their travel team, 3rd Degree. This travel team was started five years ago by Shane Wallace from Gaffney with the intent of preparing girls to play softball at the highest level in a family-oriented Christian environment that would not only benefit their game, but also impact their lives.
Abbie has been on the team since it started and Katelyn joined the second year so these two young ladies have been playing together with them for four years.
The team is comprised of girls from Anderson, Gaffney, Landrum, Spartanburg and Union, SC along with others from Polk and Canton, NC. They typically play weekend tournaments in and around the upstate of South Carolina and parts of North Carolina.
On the weekend of June 6-8, they participated in the ASA Southeastern Qualifier at Tyger River Park in Spartanburg, with the winner being awarded a berth to the ASA Nationals in San Diego. 3rd Degree won both of its games on that Friday evening and their first game on Saturday, but lost their second game on Saturday evening which put them in the losers bracket for Sunday play.
When they arrived at the park at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, they knew they had a long hot day ahead of them if they wanted to attain the goal of winning the chance to go to Nationals. The first game started at 8:30 am and as is typical in losers bracket play, you would have to play back to back games as long as you were winning to stay in the double elimination tournament.
Well, that they did, and at 9:15 p.m. on Sunday night which was over 12 hours and seven games later, 3rd Degree was crowned Champions. That’s right; this group of 10 14-year-old girls played seven straight games over almost 13 hours with only a 15 minute break between games. Parents were giving them food and hydration through the fences in order to keep them going. They fought through rain, overcast skies, hot sunshine and terrible humidity throughout the day, but they had one goal in mind and never took their eyes off of it.
With the Championship in hand and the opportunity to go play in San Diego on one of the biggest stages in travel softball, the players and parents are using the same determination the girls used to win, to make the trip possible. Many fundraisers such as a golf tournament, silent auctions and raffles are in process as the team tries to raise money to make the trip. Donations are also being sought from businesses and individuals to help pay the cost of travel and lodging for the girls and a chaperone. This is a huge opportunity for these two local softball players and their teammates as this tournament will be attended by college scouts and recruiters from all over the country.
If you would be interested in helping these girls attain their goal, you can contact their parents for more information.
Abbie is the daughter of Brad and Brooke Valentine and they can be contacted at 864-426-0983 and Katelyn is the daughter of Tommy and Karen Petty and they can be reached at 864-426-3875.
All donations will go toward the cost of travel and lodging. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated and positively represented in San Diego.