The pint-sized sluggers on the Amherst Dixie Youth Sweetees team are riding an undefeated season to the World Series.
The team of 4- to 6-year-old players are raising money for the trip to Eufaula, Alabama for World Series play that kicks off July 26, said coach Charlie Cunningham. Unbeaten in 15 games, Cunningham said the team has been a pleasure to coach this year and the smiles have been many.
“I feel like half the time they teach me more than I teach them,” said Cunningham, a second-year coach and father of Isabella, one of the players.
The team’s goal is to raise $10,000 to pay for hotel rooms, gas, food and uniforms, he said. The team was nearly halfway there by the last week in June, Cunningham said in an interview.
He said it has been awesome watching residents support the team at Madison Heights fundraisers and walk up to congratulate the girls.
“The community has been great,” Cunningham said.
The softball team has a GoFundMe page and a Facebook page raising money for their trip and still is welcoming donations, he said. The team also is hosting a car wash to raise money at AutoZone in Madison Heights this month.
Cunningham said he learns a lot from the players and while the team won the vast majority of its games comfortably, probably its best moment came in a 3-2 victory in a close game they were trailing in and came back to win in the bottom of the fifth winning. He was especially proud Isabella hit an inside-the-park home run that game.
“Every day it’s something new. Every day we’re getting better,” Cunningham said. “We all have a good time.”
The 12 players are ready to play ball and have even more fun in Alabama. He’s blessed to lead a great team, he added.
“These kids want to play,” Cunningham said. “Every girl on our team, they show every practice, they show up every game. They’re always there. They give everything they’ve got.”