They have three players batting .400 or better and another who is hitting .393.
Their two pitchers have been effective and the defense has been stellar.
It’s no wonder that the Butler Sting 16-and-under fastpitch softball team is on the cusp of achieving something huge.
“We’ve grown up together,” said left-fielder Saydie Moore of Karns City.
All but one player on the roster is from Butler County. Moore is joined by her Karns City teammates Clara Stoughton, Ashley Coon, Britney Coyle and Taylor Downs.
Butler is well represented by Emily McDonald, Noel Pfabe, Kaitlyn Barnett, Madison Graham, Amanda Webb and Anna Heade and Slippery Rock has Marie Bosch and Alexis Vogan on the team.
Allie Green of North Allegheny rounds out the roster.
Most have been playing softball together since a young age.
“It’s a lot of fun because we know each other so well,” said Stoughton, who shares catching duties with Vogan. “We’re a family. We went to Wheeling (W.Va.) for a tournament (Saturday and Sunday) and it was the most fun I’ve had all summer.”
More fun is on the way.
The Sting are currently in Spartanburg, S.C., competing in the National Softball Association “A” Division World Series. They are facing off against some of the best 16-and-under teams from across the country.
The Sting are the only 16U team from Pennsylvania that qualified for the World Series.
So good were the Sting this season, they actually qualified for the national tournament three times.
“This will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives,” said Sting coach Scott Pierce.
Pierce took a potent offense with him to South Carolina.
McDonald is one of the two pitchers and also the team’s leading hitter at .442. Coon, a shortstop, is batting .423 and Pfabe .400.
Downs, who also pitches and plays the outfield, had a huge tournament in Wheeling and has raised her average to .393.
“Taylor is pretty much lighting it up right now,” Pierce said. “Taylor and Emily are doing all the pitching and they are doing a great job. And Clara had been phenomenal behind the plate.”
McDonald is in her third year with the Sting.
She said this may be the best team she has ever been a part of.
It’s definitely the closest, she said.
“We just click,” McDonald said. “Everyone is friendly. Everyone gets along and we have a lot of fun together. It’s pretty exciting.”
Stoughton takes it a step further when describing the Sting.
“I know with every player we have, there’s not a single weak spot on the team,” she said.
But they will find the best of the best waiting for them down south.
More than 100 teams will compete for the championship.
It’s a challenge, though, they have accepted.
“We really don’t know what to expect,” McDonald said. “I think there will be 10 times better competition down there and most of the teams are from the south and play year-round. It feels pretty good to get a chance to see where we stack up, though.”
Pierce thinks the Sting can make some noise at the national level.
“You know, if they play like they did in these past few tournaments, we can play ball with anyone,” he said. “We won the Wheeling tournament for the second year in a row.”