The Watson Wildfire 10U softball team drove over 250 miles to Fort Walton Beach, Florida to bring a national championship back to Livingston Parish.
The team, composed of mostly girls from the Watson area, won four games on the tournament’s final day to capture the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) Road to the Beach National Championship on July 6-9.
There were 10 teams in the 10U bracket. Some teams were from Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Oklahoma.
The Wildfire faced elimination down 5-1 in bracket play on July 8 before rallying back to claim an 8-5 victory. According to coach Jonathan Seal, that comeback win was a turning point in the tournament.
“We lost our first bracket game 9-0 and we were facing elimination down 5-1 the game after that,” Seal said. “They came back and we won 8-5. Their ability to never give up and play all 75 minutes of the ball game is amazing. It was never another dull moment at the tournament after that comeback.”
Watson rallied to win by scores of 7-1, 7-3, and 9-2 heading into the championship against the Georgia Dukes, who were undefeated in the tournament up to that point.
The Wildfire had to win two games against the Dukes to be champions and they beat Georgia 6-4 in Game 1 before clinching the title with an 8-4 victory.
“It was explosive,” Seal said of the celebration following the final out. “There’s no way to define everyone’s excitement, tears, and joy. It was almost like a college scenario. It was incredible.”
Seal said 10 girls went to nationals in Florida. Winning in Fort Walton Beach wasn’t the only accomplishment for the team this season in its first year together.
The girls won seven tournaments and finished ranked No. 1 in Louisiana and in the nation by the USSSA
“It was an incredible, incredible season,” Seal said. Each time they played, they kept fighting harder and harder. It was amazing.
- Ryleigh Seal
- Ainsley Maher
- Kaydence Gonzalez
- Audrina Olivier
- Adalyn Salassi
- Brailyn Harvey
- Mariah Sykes
- Gabby Wilkinson
- Emilee Sullivan
- Khiia Thodile
- Jonathan Seal
- Erik Ledoux