The Vinemont 12U softball team and coaches are headed to the Dizzy Dean Fastpitch World Series next week. (Photo courtesy of Cathy Evans Johnson)
VINEMONT – Vinemont's 12-and-under softball team has advanced to play in the Dizzy Dean Fastpitch World Series. The girls will be headed to Southaven, Mississippi next week, July 10-15.
The team finished with a 14-4 record and won a county championship; the Lady Eagles will look to add a world series championship to their trophy case as well. Head coach Tumika Noblett, along with assistant coach Kenneth Knott Jr., have seen these girls come back from losing situations to make it to Mississippi behind hard work and determination.
"These girls are very determined right now," Noblett said. "They have fought their way back from losing situations and came out on top. They have worked as a team to prove no matter what the situation, as long as they work together, they can accomplish anything."
"It's been a never-ending rush of adrenaline this season," said Knott. "It's been so amazing to watch these girls build as a team, and as Tumika said, work themselves through every situation that has been presented in front of them."
The coaches feel that the experience the girls will get in the world series will have a big impact on their futures and lead them to bigger and better things.
"It will be an amazing experience," Knott said. "Not many players can say they ever made it to the world series. It will play host to some of the best teams in the Southeast region and give them an idea of the diversity of the game. It will definitely be a building block and something to top next season."
Added Noblett, "It will definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of these girls. It's impressive for a rec team to make it to the World Series. These girls work three to four days a week on softball drills; we are definitely going to Mississippi to contend."
Even though they will be facing off against some of the best teams in the Southeast region, the Lady Eagles are determined to prove that they are the best team; they have worked very hard and their winning attitude is something both coaches have liked so far as they look to keep that attitude going into Mississippi.
"These girls have proven they are the best in Cullman County and I feel they match up great with other teams going to the World Series," Knott said. "These girls never quit working; to be champions, you have to think like champions, act like champions, practice like champions, and only then are you going to play like champions.”
"Oh, these girls are extremely excited," Noblett said. "It's a conversation every day; they've got thousands of questions about that. Our motto going into every game is, ‘You have to want it to win it.’ They are taking that mentality into reaching this next goal they have set for themselves."
"They are extremely excited, but they haven't let that blur their vision." Knott added. "They know this is a huge opportunity that isn't afforded to everyone. They have really impressed us with how humble they have been to be given the chance to represent Vinemont and Cullman County in the World Series."
Noblett and Knott said they feel blessed to coach their team, saying they have learned more from their players than the girls have learned from them.
"These girls have taught me more than I could ever teach them," Noblett said. "They have made memories for me that I will never forget. I absolutely can't wait to see what this group of girls goes and does in the next few years."
"This is my first season as a coach with the girls," Knott said. "When I started, I didn't know what to expect, as I've always coached boys. This has been the best ride I've ever been on. I am beyond blessed to get to put on a jersey that says coach and go out on the field with these girls. Watching them this season as they blossomed and worked so hard to get to where they are has been beyond words. I am so thankful for Tumika asking me to join this adventure. I look forward to where this takes us all."
"This season has taught us that, if you really work hard for what you want, you can definitely achieve it." Noblett said. "Championships aren't given; they are earned. Bringing home a World Series championship would be a dream come true, an accomplishment that would help these girls get looked at by colleges in the future. And as a parent, not just a coach, that's a dream come true for any little girl."
"I think one of the biggest things is hard work is worth it," Knott said. "If it was easy, everyone would do it. These girls didn't just fall into it; they put a lot of blood, sweat, and definitely some tears, into becoming champions and it has paid dividends. It would definitely mean more than anything to these girls and the entire Eagle Nation. There is one thing that Tumika Noblett has definitely taught these girls: ‘You have to hate to lose more than you love to win.’ From the first time she said it, it has become our team motto and it holds true in every aspect of the game."
Winning a championship is on the minds of every player when they step onto the field or court, no matter the sport. Vinemont's 12U girls hope to make history next week in Mississippi.
"We all talk about it daily," Knott said. "There are coaches and players who go their whole careers without ever being donned the title of champion. It's definitely a dream of anyone who has played or coached the game."
Copyright 2018 Humble Roots, LLC. All Rights Reserved.