Described by coach and organizer Mona Baker as “an amazing adventure,” the Around the Lake youth softball program returned to Brighton and Okeechobee with plenty to be proud about following its trip to Oxford, Alabama, for the Dixie World Series in July.
Around the Lake – or ATL as it’s also known – brought four teams, which included 14 Seminole players and Seminole coaches Preston Baker and daughter Jaryaca.
All ATL teams finished in the top three in their divisions.
ATL’s top finishers came in the Sweeties division (6U), Ponytails X-Play (12U) and the Debs division (19U), all of which finished as runners-up.
ATL’s Ponytails X-Play team posted wins against teams from Alabama, Louisiana and Virginia before losing to champion Ward 10 from Louisiana. ATL’s Debs team beat teams from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia before losing to Crawford County, Georgia, 4-1, in the championship round.
ATL’s Sweeties, playing in the youngest division, made a good impression on and off the field as they earned a sportsmanship award.
ATL’s Belles team (15U), coached by the Bakers, including Mona, notched wins against teams from Wahneta, Florida, and Crawford County, Georgia.
To help defray costs before the trip, ATL held a coed softball tournament as a fundraiser and received lodging money from the Children’s Services Council of Okeechobee.
Baker said the trip was well worth it and that the girls had a chance to enjoy time away from the softball field, too.
“It was super hot, pools were closed due to Covid, but that didn’t stop the girls from finding a water fall,” she said. “It was truly amazing experience.”
Around the Lake’s Seminole players at Dixie World Series included:
Sweeties (6U): Javiah Jones, Jaonna Jones, Melanie Alvarez, Malleia Alvarez and Amaryiah Lavatta
Ponytails X-Play (12U): Serenity Billie, Charisma Micco, Hannah Platt and Aaryn King.
Belles (15U): Preslynn Baker, Lexi Thomas and Giselle Micco.
Debs (19U): Jacee Jumper and Elle Thomas.