Hanahan softball coach Tom Heiden was a ripe 69 years young when he arrived at Oscar J. Frazier Park in Bluffton on Wednesday night for the Dixie Softball Ponytails World Series.
He was 70 when he left.
After a downpour postponed the start of Hanahan's championship final against Florida for four hours and 26 minutes, Heiden's club wasted little time jumping on its opponent and hanging on for a 6-1 victory well after the clock struck midnight.
"This is what you get when you get 12 of the best 11- and 12-year-olds in Hanahan, South Carolina," said Heiden, who celebrated his birthday after Wednesday turned into Thursday.
Hanahan finished its tournament run with a 6-0 record, the only team in Bluffton to never face the daunting losers' bracket. They outscored their first two opponents 19-3 and cruised from there, including an eight-inning affair with Florida on Tuesday morning.
"It's impressive," Heiden said. " ... The main ingredient is you've got to have good pitching to survive a tournament like this."
Hanahan certainly had that. Heiden's girls allowed just six runs over their final 26 innings of the tournament, which included a no-hitter in the final. Their offense backed them up early, too, as Rachel Shelley gave Hanahan an early 1-0 advantage with a leadoff inside-the-park home run before Madeline Ferris and Ashlyn Cribb poured it on with run-scoring singles.
Jordan Fabian also scored on a wild pitch in the fourth while Ferris tallied an RBI groundout in the first.
"All the credit goes to these girls, as much time and hard work as they've put in," Heiden said.
DIXIE PONYTAILS WORLD SERIES
Oscar J. Frazier Park, Bluffton
Saturday, July 27
Game 1: Hanahan (S.C) 10, Old Hickory (Tenn.) 0, 4 innings
Game 2: Beaufort County (S.C.) 9, Rockingham West (N.C.) 7
Game 3: West Monroe National (La.) 8, Columbia County (Ga.) 7
Game 4: Blossom (Texas) 16, Hope (Ark.) 7
Game 5: Wewahitchka (Fla.) 9, Slocomb (Ala.) 3
Game 6: Amelia (Va.) 10, Columbia Dean Griner (Miss.) 9
Sunday, July 28
Game 7: Rockingham West (N.C.) 13, Old Hickory (Tenn.) 1, Tennessee eliminated
Game 8: Columbia County (Ga.) 16, Hope (Ark.) 3, Arkansas eliminated
Game 9: Slocomb (Ala.) 8, Columbia Dean Griner (Miss.) 4, Mississippi eliminated
Game 10: Wewahitchka (Fla.) 5, Amelia (Va.) 4
Game 11: West Monroe National (La.) 9, Blossom (Texas) 8
Game 12: Hanahan (S.C) 9, Beaufort (S.C.) 3
Game 13: Columbia County (Ga.) 6, Slocomb (Ala.) 2, Alabama eliminated
Game 14: Rockingham West (N.C.) 4, Blossom (Texas) 3 (7), Texas eliminated
Game 15: Beaufort County (S.C.) 6, Amelia (Va.) 3, Virginia eliminated
Game 16: Hanahan (S.C) 3, West Monroe National (La.) 0
Monday, July 29
Game 17: Rockingham West (N.C.) 7, Columbia County (Ga.) 6, Georgia eliminated
Game 18: Beaufort County (S.C.) 2, West Monroe National (La.) 0, Louisiana eliminated
Tuesday, July 30
Game 19: Hanahan (S.C.) 5, Wewahitchka (Fla.) 2
Game 20: Wewahitchka (Fla.) 3, Beaufort County (S.C.) 2, Beaufort County eliminated
Game 21: Hanahan (S.C.) 4, Rockingham West (N.C.) 3, North Carolina eliminated
Wednesday, July 31
Game 22: Hanahan (S.C.) 6, vs. Wewahitchka (Fla.) 1, Florida eliminated