Beaufort County team ready for challenge of Dixie Softball World Series

So much of managing a youth baseball or softball team isn't about the coaching decisions on the diamond but rather the juggling of a rules-bound pitching staff.

That's the problem Eric Ackerman and his Beaufort County softball team will face this weekend in the Dixie Softball Ponytails World Series at Bluffton's Oscar J. Frazier Park. But the coach likes the makeup of his staff, with seven girls who have pitching experience, and is expecting a deep run as a result.

"We're feeling pretty good," he said. "Just like any other team, it's going to rely on pitching. I feel we can be competitive offensively and our defense is really solid. It's just going to rely on whether our pitchers are on or not."

The Beaufort County club will get a chance to showcase its talents at 5 p.m. Saturday in its opening-round game against Rockingham (N.C.) West. Alexis Ortiz is Ackerman's staff ace, but the team likely will warm up all seven of its pitchers prior to each game and ride the hot hand at the start.

Youth softball rules prohibit pitchers from appearing on consecutive days if they pitched more than two innings in the previous game. And with only 13 innings allotted for each hurler for the week, Ackerman will have to juggle the innings wisely to ensure a deep run in the 12-and-under tournament.

Michaux Gee joins Ortiz as the only other pitcher on the roster with exclusive pitching experience. But Emily Crosby, Julianna Greer, Journeigh Boray, Alisa Depew and Margaret Schubert are all likely to stand in the circle at some point during the tournament.

"I think we have enough girls that can throw strikes, which is the most important thing," Ackerman said. "I don't really mind if the other team puts it in play. I feel like our defense is very solid."

Nine of Beaufort County's 12 girls possess travel ball experience, a component it will need against a bevy of strong clubs. Eleven other teams will zero in on the Lowcountry this week, with 10 of those coming from other states. Hanahan is the other South Carolina representative while clubs from as far west as Arkansas and Texas will also make the trip.

That travel -- or lack thereof, in the case of Beaufort County -- could play a pivotal role over the five-day event, Ackerman said.

"I think that's really important," he said. "Obviously you sleep better in your own bed. Sleeping in a hotel, it's fun for the girls for maybe the first night or two, but the shine wears off. It's not as much fun to be in a hotel. It'll be great for them. They'll probably just go home and go to bed."

The double-elimination tournament gets underway with Hanahan and Old Hickory (Tenn.) at 2 p.m. Saturday. The championship final is Wednesday, July 31, at 6 p.m. with an if-necessary game to follow at 8 p.m.

Daily admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. Children 5 and under are admitted free of charge.

The County Channel will broadcast all games, which can be seen streaming live online at

Dixie Softball Ponytails World Series

at Oscar J. Frazier Park, Bluffton

Admission: Adults are $7, children ages 6-12 are $5, and children 5 and under are free

Tournament Glance

Saturday, July 27

Game 1: Hanahan (S.C) vs. Old Hickory (Tenn.), 2 p.m. (Field 3)

Game 2: Beaufort County (S.C.) vs. Rockingham West (N.C.), 5 p.m. (Field 1)

Game 3: West Monroe National (La.) vs. Columbia County (Ga.), 3:30 p.m. (Field 3)

Game 4: Blossom (Texas) vs. Hope (Ark.), 3:30 p.m. (Field 1)

Game 5: Slocomb (Ala.) vs. Wewahitchka (Fla.), 2 p.m. (Field 1)

Game 6: Columbia Dean Griner (Miss.) vs. Amelia (Va.), 5 p.m. (Field 3)

Beauort County player capsules

Alexis Ortiz

No. 7, P, 1B

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite movie: Madea Goes To Jail

Favorite athlete: Cat Osterman

Favorite song: Here Comes the Boom

Hobbies: Softball

Aspirations: Pro softball player

Emily Crosby

No. 11, 3B

Favorite food: Steak

Favorite movie: White House Down

Favorite athlete: Jennie Finch

Favorite song: I Knew You Were Trouble

Hobbies: Softball, boating, volleyball

Aspirations: Pro softball player

Journeigh Doray

No. 13, SS, C

Favorite food: Chicken nuggets

Favorite movie: Finding Nemo

Favorite athlete: Babe Ruth

Favorite song: Safe and Sound

Hobbies: Softball

Aspirations: Pro athlete

Olivia Gee

No. 25, OF

Favorite food: Chicken Fingers

Favorite movie: Transformers

Favorite athlete: Tim Tebow

Favorite song: Firecracker

Hobbies: Softball, soccer, volleyball, basketball

Aspirations: Pro athlete, nurse

Michaux Gee

No. 15, P, SS, 2B

Favorite food: Fried chicken, watermelon

Favorite movie: Batman

Favorite athlete: Raven Chavanne

Favorite song: Get Your Shine On

Hobbies: Softball, boating, volleyball, bassketball

Aspirations: Pro athlete

Alisa Depew

No. 8, C, 1B, OF

Favorite food: Fried Shrimp

Favorite movie: The Purge

Favorite athlete: Monica Abbott

Favorite song: Radioactive

Hobbies: Softball, beach, basketball

Aspirations: To be happy

Mia Debardelaben

No. 00, 1B, OF

Favorite food: Mac and cheese with bacon

Favorite movie: Rocky IV

Favorite athlete: LeBron James

Favorite song: Angel Eyes

Hobbies: Sports

Aspirations: Pro athlete

Julianna Greer

No. 10, CF, 1B

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite movie: Pretty Woman

Favorite athlete: Jennie Finch

Favorite song: The House That Built Me

Hobbies: Softball, basketball, soccer

Aspirations: Nurse

Ashley Weber

No. 4, OF

Favorite food: Strawberries

Favorite movie: The Last Song

Favorite athlete: Jessica Mendoza

Favorite song: We Can't Stop

Hobbies: Softball, cheerleading

Aspirations: Doctor

Margaret Schubert

No. 6, 2B, OF

Favorite food: Mashed potatoes

Favorite movie: Despicable Me 2

Favorite athlete: Troy Polamalu

Favorite song: Courageous

Hobbies: Softball, beach

Aspirations: Pro softball player

Kidron Martin

No. 44, OF

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite movie: Despicable Me 2

Favorite athlete: Jennie Finch

Favorite song: (don't listen to music)

Hobbies: Reading, soccer, tennis

Aspirations: Teacher, pro softball player

Essence Champion

No. 3, OF

Favorite food: Corndogs

Favorite movie: Smurfs

Favorite athlete: LeBron James

Favorite song: 22

Hobbies: Softball, texting, cheerleading

Aspirations: Police officer

Coaches: Eric Ackerman (head coach), Chuck Crosby, Keith Schubert