Barboursville girls head to Georgia for regionals
HUNTINGTON -- They're not the New York Yankees' version but you can go ahead and call the foursome of Emily Wilmink, Makala Bell, Karlee Alderman and Hannah Morgan "The Core Four."
When the age 11-12 Barboursville All-Stars make their return appearance Thursday at the Little League Softball Southeast Regional in Warner Robins, Ga., on Thursday, that quartet will be the one teammates and coaches will look to lean on.
After all, they're all that remains from last year's run to the regional semifinals.
"They're the team leaders," said Coach Kevin Alderman. "They know what to expect going down there.
"(Warner Robins) is so big and so beautiful and these girls see it all. But with our four returning starters, they'll keep them in line. ... Olivia Caterbury and Karlee are our two pitchers and I'm starting Karlee just because of the experience."
Barboursvile fell to host Warner Robins in last year's event and then watched them go out and win the Little League World Series.
In other words, The Core Four has been battled tested.
But the good news is Warner Robins lost in its Georgia state tournament, meaning the field is wide open.
West Virginia's champions play Florida's champion, Lake Wales Little League, in the opening pool play game of the tournament at 10 a.m., Thursday. Follow the game online at http://eteamz.active.com/llbsouth/.
"They're ready," Alderman said. "They're believers. I think every girl on this team - all 11 - believe that they can go down there and do well.
"And I know that we can. All three coaches know we can. Let's not go down there and compete, we're going down there to win.
"We're not going down there just to have fun, we're going down there to win. They all feel confident. They know we hit th ball well. We play defense real well
"So we're going down there to win."
Which is almost expected when it comes to Barboursville and Little League. Both softball and baseball teams have put together impressive showings this summer,
Alderman's bunch is carrying the flag for them all.
"We appreciate the support of the community," Alderman said. "The people around here have been tremendous.
"It's a tradition to win here. It's like people step their game up in order to get their name on a banner."
ON 2B: Southeast Regional schedule.