However, it’s hard to imagine she could have forseen the run her team would go on just three years later.
Hanson’s 8-and-under Bartow County Parks and Recreation Softball Team’s run finally came to an end Sunday in the Dizzy Dean Softball World Series in Southaven, Miss., as the Bartow County All-Stars took third-place.
The Bartow County Parks and Recreation 8-and-under softball team had a very special season. The team won the Georgia State Dizzy Dean Tournament, one of four tournaments the all-star team won in just a two month span.
“I’m very proud of the girls. They were great all year,” Hanson said of her team. “We are excited about third place. We wish we could have had first or second, but our girls did great to get that third-place trophy.”
The all-star team is comprised of players from several rec teams.
When Hanson assembled the team two years ago, she knew she had something special.
“When they started, you could tell they had a lot of talent. Their arms were good, they picked up on the rules and the aspects of softball very quickly,” she said. “That’s the word I would use to describe these girls, they are very talented.”
Hanson believes the girls are so talented that many of them have bright futures in the sport.
“I think our team was the best in all of the tournaments we have played in,” she said. “I think every single girl on our team has the potential to be a college scholar.”
The girls won their first two games at the event, which was a double elimination tournament.
The team scored 13 and 18 runs, respectively, in each of the two games to handily adavance to the semifinals.
“Our girls got a big jump in those first two games,” Hanson said. “Our hitting was awesome in the first and second games and we had some strong defensive plays.”
Each player hit at least .500 or better in those first two games while also playing strong in the field.
“Our defense held other teams to an average of eight runs per game. Those same teams were scoring an average of 15 against other teams,” assistant coach Lamar Rogers said.
Bartow County had a lead and chances to win each of their next two contests, but fell just short in each, resulting in elimination.
“I think our team was the best in the tournament, but even the best teams lose sometimes,” Hanson said. “A couple of errors here and there cost us those last two games.”
The teams’ runs per game dipped to seven in the last two games. Not bad, but not as good as the 15.5 runs the team was averaging in the first two games.
Sill, the team put on quite the performance, both as a team and as individuals.
Lehla Thomas and Alexis Woods were two standouts who were recognized as selections to the all-tournament team.
All in all, the Bartow County All-Star Team had a succesful season and, according to the coaches, have come a long way since it first came together.
“The girls have learned so much in a short time,” assistant coach Brandon Ford said. “It feels good to see how far they have come together and be able to compete on a stage like the state tournament and World Series.”