0717 Dothan ponytails photo

Members of the Dothan National Ponytails state championship team: Jassy Andrews, Charlee Chandler, Harmoni Descalzi, Tionna Edwards, Sara Harris, Kaleigh Heard, Ava Claire Johnson, Marie Lingo, Mallory Magrino, Mary Helen Mendheim, Maddie Norris and Maya Swope. Bat girls Campbell Mendheim and Makenzie Descalzi. Coaches Scotty Lingo, Mike Palmer and Cliff Mendheim.

Down 3-2 with two outs in the final inning, Dothan National utilized its speed for a victory over Montgomery American in the Dixie Ponytails (ages 11-12) state softball tournament championship game in Underwood on Tuesday.

Tionna Edwards and Marie Lingo each stole second and third base to get in scoring position, and both scored on wild pitches as Dothan rallied for a 4-3 win to claim the state title.

In the bottom of the sixth with two out, Edwards reached on a bunt to keep Dothan alive. She then stole second and third bases with Lingo at the plate.

Lingo drew a walk, and when ball four got away, Edwards raced in to tie the game at 3-3. Lingo then stole second and third and scored the winning run on a wild pitch.

Charlee Chandler pitched the first three innings for Dothan and Kaleigh Heard pitched the final three.

Dothan went through the tournament unbeaten at 5-0, which included an earlier 8-6 win over Montgomery American.

The team advances to the Dixie Ponytails World Series in Hopkins County, Texas, beginning on Aug. 2.

Dothan coach Scotty Lingo said the team made some errors throughout the tournament, but good pitching and timely offense kept the team on track.

“Our pitchers did really great,” Lingo said. “A lot of the runs that were given up were unearned runs where we had errors. They just stuck together as a team and even through the errors and adversity, they fought back very hard. A great team always finds a way to win.”

Six of the players on the team played on the Dothan Dixie Angels team that won a state title a year ago.

“You took a little bit more chemistry from last year and put them together with some who played travel ball together and we’ve been really practicing hard,” Lingo said. “It’s been some late nights for them, but they’ve really put in the work and that’s what has made them a better team.”

In years past, Dothan has had two all-star teams in the Ponytails division. This year, with participant numbers down, there was only one all-star team.

“We didn’t have that many girls come out this year, so they got combined to make one solid team for Ponytails and it made Dothan a very strong team,” Lingo said. “Normally, you would have one shortstop, or one or two girls who can pitch, but when you’ve got four or five pitchers, three catchers, two shortstops, you have a truly solid team.”

Follow Jon Johnson on Twitter @eaglesportsed

I've been sports editor of the Dothan Eagle since 1988.

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