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Local teams are champs on and off the field

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / August 17, 1998

Welcome home champs.

Those were the signs around the West Bank Bridge Park last Friday, welcoming home the Dixie League World champion St. Charles Parish 13-year-old All-Stars. But those signs could also have be used around theRiver Parishes in the last couple of weeks as local teams have been going around the state and around the country and bringing back championships.

At the celebration welcoming back the All-Stars, it was announced that eight St. Charles Parish teams had advanced to state tournaments. In theDixie Youth 12-year-olds district tournament, St. Charles District IIdefeated St. Charles District I for the district title and advanced to thestate tournament in Monroe. The 10, 11, 14 and 15-16-year-old boys and9-10, 11-12 and 13-15-year-old girls also won district championships.

In St. John Parish, the NOAH 9-10-year-olds defeated Baker twice,including once on the road, to capture the district championship. The 14-15-year-olds swept through the Senior League district tournament and placed third in state. The St. John Parish 11-12-year-olds All-Starsplayed in the Dizzy Dean All-Star tournament. And the 13-14-year-oldAll-Stars advanced to the state tournament in Baton Rouge.

The Cajun Stars recently returned home from the USSSA Fast Pitch Softball World Championship with the second-place trophy. Helping theCajun Stars to the tournament finals were four players from the River Parishes – Melissa Martin, Courtney St. Amant and Tanya Teague fromRiverside and Erin Hymel from Lutcher.

Martin hit two home runs in the tournament, St. Amant earned thenickname “Scoops” for her outstanding play at first base and Teague and Hymel saw action on the pitching mound.

The Cajun Stars were also a hit off the field. They celebrated each victorywith cajun dances and songs and won the hearts of the fans at the tournament who awarded them with the Sportsmanship Award.

The River Parish teams were indeed winners off the field as well as on.

The mark of a champion is not only how it acts in victory but also how it responds to defeat.

A prime example of this was the team from St. Charles Parish. The familythat hosted the team in Troy, Ala. recently sent the recreation departmenta letter praising the team for their actions, calling the players, coaches and fans from St. Charles a class act both on and off the field. The familycommended the players for always having a positive attitude and being very polite at all times.

The All-Stars were no-hit by Tennessee in a winner’s bracket game, putting them one step away from elimination, and then saw Troy rally from a nine-run deficit to send the game into extra innings. But the All-Stars kept their poise to come back to win the game and advance to the tournament championship game. Trailing 7-1 against Tennessee in thatgame, the All-Stars refused to give in, keeping the Tennessee batters in check while rallying for an 8-7 victory.

That heart and determination to come back against any odds is why the All-Stars are today champions in every sense of the word. And it is thoseattributes that can be used to describe the champions from around the River Parishes.

Welcome home champs.

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