LAURINBURG — The Scotland County Dixie Ponytails softball team is just the right mix of attitude and talent.
The team is gearing up to compete in the Dixie Softball State Tournament, which will be held in Laurinburg this coming weekend.
The Scotland County Dixie Ponytails is 11- and 12-year-old girls and are one of three local teams participating in the tournament. The 12U team is coached by Contonio Williams, who switched from coaching baseball to softball this season.
“This is my first year, but I’ve been pretty successful,” he said. “My team, the Blue Devils, were the regular season and tournament champions.”
The Ponytails is an all-star team made up of girls that played for Scotland County Parks & Recreation and Optimist. Williams said the fact that a majority of his girls played together during the regular season gives them an advantage.
“Eight of my 12 players were in Optimist together, so they are familiar with each other,” he said.
The girls have set high expectations for themselves and are determined to win the tournament to advance to the Dixie World Series in Louisiana.
“We’ve had a handful of practices so far, but we are an athletic team and the girls want to win,” said Williams.
The Dixie Ponytails (12U) and Dixie Angels (10U) brackets are broken down into traditional and x-play. Traditional softball is more like how parks and recreation games are structured, whereas x-play follows the rules the high school teams in the state abide by.
The Scotland County Dixie Ponytails will compete in the traditional bracket starting on Saturday, July 14. The hometown 12U team will open the tournament against Dunn at 11 a.m. on Field 3 at the James L. Morgan Complex.
The winner of that game will face the winner of Moore County vs. Topsail at 1 p.m. on Sunday. If the Scotland County Ponytails lose they will drop down to the losers bracket and play Sunday morning at 11 a.m.
The two other teams in the bracket are Hope Mills and Sampson County. Their game will take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The 12U traditional play championship will take place on Wednesday, July 18.
Opening ceremonies for the Dixie State Tournament will be held at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 13, at the James L. Morgan Recreation Complex. UNC-Pembroke head softball coach Brittany Bennett will serve as the guest speaker.
Admission is $7 and games will be played at the James L. Morgan Complex and Optimist Park. All of the traditional Dixie Ponytail games will be played at the Morgan Complex.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]