Dexter Little League Softball are State Champs
A first for Dexter and a super exciting moment in the lives of everyone on the softball team who earned Dexter Little League’s first state championship banner.
The team, made up of 9, 10 and 11 year olds from Dexter, includes: Rebecca Beauchamp, Ainsley Davis, Abigail Delphus, Mallie Delphus, Ana Dettling, Meadow Forrey, Marissa Idalski, Bailey Konuszewski, Charlotte Konuszewski, Julianna Richards, Emma Skidmore, Makena Sugg and Grace Walter with Head Coach Randy Walter and Assistant Coaches Gene Skidmore and Derek Beauchamp.
Dexter won the tournament with a mercy win over Taylor North in the third inning by a score of 18 to 3.
The mercy rule kicks in if a team is ahead by 15 runs at the end of the third inning.
Coach Walter told The Sun Times News (STN) that since they formed this 9, 10 and 11 (year old) All Star Tournament Team in mid June, they've been practicing or playing tournament games five to seven days a week.
“The players displayed so much dedication and effort, even when they were mentally and physically tired,” he said.
STN asked some of the players about the win and what they think makes them such a special team.
“It feels pretty incredible that we just made history for Dexter Little League by bringing home Dexter's first ever State Championship,” said Bailey Konuszewski. “Every one of us has a lot to be proud of.”
In looking at the team, she said part of what makes them good is how connected they are and how much they support each other.
“Every at bat mattered to us and we came into each game knowing we were going to give it our all,” she said.
In the championship game, Coach Walter said in the first inning, they gave up a couple of runs in the top of the inning.
However, that didn’t alter their aim to win it all.
“It was a crucial moment where momentum was with our opponent,” said Coach Walter. “Our first batter in the bottom of the first, Julianna Richards, hit a monster shot to the left field gap that immediately reignited our players and fan base. We never looked back after that, making a statement by scoring 11 runs in that first inning.”
Coach Walter said their tournament run was a complete team effort with some outstanding performances.
“What amazed me was how the players put all facets of the game together for the whole State Tournament,” he said. “We displayed dominating offense, defense, pitching, and were focused mentally.”
He said they outscored their opponents 63 to 15. For the Tournament, they had seven batters that batted over .500, two of which, Makena Sugg and Bailey Konuszewski, batted over .700. Three players, Emma Skidmore, Grace Walter, and Ana Dettling, had a slugging percentage over 1.000.
And coming off the bench, Abby Delphus, Mallie Delphus, and Meadow Forrey had numerous key at bats that extended innings and drove in runs, Walter said.
In addition, he said there was solid defense at all nine positions; with an “ESPN highlight play” turned in by shortstop Julianna Richards, running catches in the outfield by Rebecca Beauchamp and Charlie Konuszewski, and overall lock down game play by their second baseman Marissa Idalski and first baseman Ainsley Davis.
In describing the final win and their team, twin sisters Abby and Mallie Delphus said, “Three words: Great! Awesome! Amazing!”
“Our team was so good because of our fielding, our strong hitting, and our strong pitchers who got most of the outs with their strikeouts,” said the Delphus twins.
Teammate Grace Walter agreed.
“I feel great about the win and so proud of the whole team,” she said. “Everyone did so amazing.”
She said what makes the team good “is all the work we have put into it and the focus we had while having fun was great.”
As to what’s next for the team, it’s rest, relaxation and enjoying the memories of the win.
“These players have been working hard for this moment since mid June and are looking forward to the rest of their summer being a kid,” Coach Walter said.
In one last question of the coach, STN asked: Is there anything you would like to say about the team and their families?
“To simply say it, this team was special,” answered Coach Walter. “Watching how all thirteen players grew their physical skill set to how they continually supported each other. How all the families contributed to the success of this team. So much went into the planning, prepping, and execution of making this team to get to where we are today.”