The Mount Washington All-Stars took their “belief” into action and rolled through the 8-and-under Babe Ruth World Series this week in Jensen Beach, Fla.
The Mount Washington team won the Kentucky state title in Fern Creek to qualify for the national tournament in Florida. However, they went to the Ohio Valley Regionals in Fairfield, Ohio, and finished fourth.
The team, parents and well-wishers gathered at Mount Washington Elementary Sunday for an impromtu celebration.
Once they decided to go to Florida for the tournament, coach Jimmy Kincaid said they got serious about getting the job done.
“We got together and did a lot of soul searching,” Kincaid said. “I looked at the girls and said we’ve got to believe in each other. All the girls looked at me and said we can do it. When you’ve got 12 girls and 12 groups of parents telling that, you really can’t argue with it. They have a belief in each other.
“We had one week of practice and they turned it up,” Kincaid said.
Once they committed to go, Kincaid said he told the parents they were going down there to win it.
“It was a business trip,” he said. “They got to look at the beach a few times. But this is that these girls love to do. They love to play softball. Some of them didn’t even want to (go) to the beach.”
For the All-Stars, it turned into a team effort.
“Every one of these girls brought something to this team,” Kincaid said. “It takes 12 girls. . . . I thought every one of these girls should get a golden glove. We gave up 10 runs the entire tournament.”
In the finals of the tournament, they faced Burkesville (Ky.), the team that eliminated Mount Washington in the regionals.
The championship game went to the bottom of the seventh inning, still tied 3-3.
After Mackenzie Mingus reached on a fielder’s choice, Carly Bryant came up to the plate. She ripped the ball to center field.
“She hit the best hit I’ve ever seen her hit in her life,” Kincaid said. Bryant raced to third base.
Unfortunately for All-Stars, Mingus was called out at the plate.
With two outs, Alyssa Philpot came up to the plate.
“Alyssa’s a great hitter but she swung at the first two pitches and missed them by two feet,” Kincaid said. “It didn’t look good.”
Kincaid said he still had confidence in Philpot.
“Even after she missed those two pitches, I knew she was going to get a hit.”
Philpot then came through with the game-winning hit with a liner into left field.
“It was amazing,” Kincaid said of the journey. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for these girls to do this.”