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Midwest 18U softball team takes second in USFA World Series

The Midwest Grit 18U softball team took second place in the USFA World Series last month. Pictured in the front row from left to right: Junior Zoee Cullum (Johnson City, IL), junior Miley Conklin (Jackson), senior Zoe Flath (Jackson), junior Jaylie Walther (Jackson) and senior Lily Pursley (Arcadia Valley). Back row: Assistant coach Trent Cockburn, assistant coach Travis Spane, senior Molly Spane (Oran), senior Mackenzie Lawless (Scott City), junior Dixie Cloud (Neelyville), senior Tally Cockburn (Marion, IL), senior Maddie Rosenbery (Carterville), senior Kam Tucker (Jackson), senior Kaitlyn Reuss (Marion, IL) and head coach Jeremy McCain. Submitted photo

Rising softball stars on the team Midwest Grit 18U recently showed out in a five-day tournament in Panama City Beach. The team ended on a high note by finishing second against competition from all over the country in the United States Fastpitch Association World Series.

Midwest Grit started its week with three pool-play games on July 18, producing three wins from those games. They were able to beat the South Florida Riptides, Adidas Gold Alabama and Ohio Stampede, respectively.

As for the second day of the tournament, they entered bracket play. Grit was able to surpass their first opponent Elevate Fastpitch Ohio with a 11-1 win to start the day. This feat was then followed by another win over Georgia Prime by a score of 5-2.

Taking the day off that Thursday, the girls picked back up in bracket play on Friday. With a 4-3 loss to the Southern Illinois Prospects, Midwest Grit was bumped to a lower bracket.

However, despite diversity, they were able to battle back, winning four-straight games that same day. Midwest Grit defeated Ohio Stampede 7-4, Kentucky Intense Glory 3-2, Indiana Gators 5-3 and Lady Hawks Elite Florida 7-3.

On the last day of the tournament, 23 of the 26 teams participating had already been eliminated. Midwest Grit faced off with USA 36 from Louisiana and added another victory to the tally with a 3-2 win.

Against the odds, Grit headed to the championship games. However, to win they would have to beat Adiktiv Elite Florida not once, but twice. After a long few days, they suffered an upsetting 11-1 loss, finishing second in the tournament.

Midwest Grit 18U is made up of softball players from all over Southeast Missouri and even a few from Illinois. Of those players, three have announced their commitment to play softball at the collegiate level, including Zoe Flath, a senior at Jackson who will be continuing her playing career at Missouri Baptist.

Along with Flath, Grit teammate and fellow Indians senior Kam Tucker has also decided to play softball at the next level and will be playing at Mineral Area College.

Jackson softball fans can be optimistic for an interesting season with the skills of multiple players being highlighted in summer ball. Besides the college commits, young talent can also be found in juniors Miley Conklin and Jaylie Walthers, who also played for Grit.

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