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Locals call Rowan’s World Series berth a point of pride

Tough inning

Andrea Baucom reacts as the Rowan softball team falls behind by five runs halfway through the game. Jon C. Lakey/Salisbury Post

Andrea Baucom reacts as the Rowan softball team falls behind by five runs halfway through the game. Jon C. Lakey/Salisbury Post

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Rowan softball suffered a tough loss in the 2016 Little League Softball World Series, but their back-to-back berths in the top game should be a point of pride, local residents said Wednesday evening.

Rowan’s 12U Little League Softball team showed signs of life late in the game, but ultimately suffered a 5-1 loss to a team from Helotes, Texas, on Wednesday. Locals who gathered to watch the game at West End Plaza said it won’t be the last time Rowan makes the game.

“I think the fact that they made it to the world series shows the talent in this area that’s starting to come together,” said Jeff Bernhardt, who helps organize the Rowan Little League Girls Softball league. “And, I think people have started to realize how much talent we have.”

Several years ago, when the league started, Bernhardt said the league only had 24 girls. In 2015, when the league’s all-star team won the world series, Bernhardt said there were more than 120 players. This year, the league grew to more than 220 girls, he said.

Lydia Price, who watched the game at West End Plaza, said the team’s appearance in the game helps boost Rowan County and Salisbury’s national notoriety.

“I think it’s putting Salisbury on the map,” Price said. “I mean, nobody else knows where Salisbury is.”

If nothing else, people know Salisbury sits in the Southeast — the region Rowan’s little league team won and represented in the World Series — said Matt Newton.

“I think it’s kind of awesome,” he said.

After starting slow and falling behind 5-0, the team had it’s best shot at a rally in the fifth inning. The fifth inning was also the first time significant excitement could be felt among fans at West End Plaza. Fans smiled, laughed even, as Rowan’s coach Steve Yang delivered a pep talk to players.

In the pep talk, audible during the TV broadcast, Yang told the girls “you didn’t carry us this far for nothing” and stressed that Rowan was one of the best two teams in the world.

Marcia Kirtley, who watched the game at West End Plaza, said the 2016 World Series is an experience they’ll likely “never ever forget.”

Contract reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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