Clanton youth softball teams heading to World Series

Published 2:27 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Clanton will have two youth softball teams representing the area in their respective World Series in July as the young stars advanced from the state tournaments earlier in June. Both teams will play in USA Softball’s 2024 USA Rec World Series in Albertville at Sand Mountain Park from July 5-7.

The Clanton 6U All Stars, coached by CJ Robinson and made up of five- to six-year-old girls, make their return to the World Series for the second consecutive year after another stellar season. The team won its district tournament in Helena and Jemison on June 6-8 in dominating fashion and fared very well in its district tournament in Wetumpka as well.

At the USA Rec All-Stars Alabama State Tournament in Gardendale on June 20-24, the 6U All Stars went 4-0 to win the state title. The team won all four of its games by one run with a 1-0 win, a 15-14 win and a pair of 18-17 wins with three wins coming on walk offs.

“We had a great showing in the state tournament … Those girls have a lot of grit and they do not quit and they keep fighting,” Robinson said.

This year’s 6U All Stars returned four girls from last year’s World Series team with nine newcomers. Robinson said last year’s team set the standard for them by playing to have fun, but also playing to compete and win. Robinson made sure this year’s team knew they would not be defined by what happened last year, but he also made it clear that that was not an excuse if the team does not do well.

Robinson has had to be more of a motivational coach for the young players this year, but they have responded and shown it with their ability to come back late in games. Robinson prides the team on playing the game the right way by teaching them the ins and outs, and not just putting the fastest player at pitcher to run around and tag out runners.

“We may have some girls on the team that still spell their fives or Z’s backwards, but we have taught them how to turn a double play, and have a few of those this year,” Robinson said. “It is just amazing … The girls have responded to our coaching, and to the parents I appreciate them because some practices looked like a track meet more than a practice. The parents made (the ability to coach that way) possible.”

The Clanton 6U All Stars enter the World Series at 14-3 overall, ranked second in Alabama and third in the nation amongst 6U teams.

The Clanton 8U All-Stars will also represent the city at the 8U USA Rec World Series in Albertville after finishing runners up in their respective USA Rec All-Stars Alabama State Tournament in Gardendale. With girls at six and seven years old, coach Matt Easterling and his team have been playing together across three different levels for the last eight months.

Easterling started a travel softball organization with the girls on the rec team, and the team started in October traveling around and playing together. The team moved on to the rec league season in the spring, and now the all-star season, ending their grueling stretch in the World Series. In their 13 tournaments since October, the 8U All-Stars have won 11 of them.

“This is a good group of girls, they work hard and I love their dedication,” Easterling said. “They love softball, and I love it just as much as they do.”

At the USA Rec All-Stars Alabama State Tournament in Gardendale, the 8U All-Stars played six games and went 4-2. The team won their first two games before losing its third, but bounced back and won its next game to advance to the state finals. Clanton beat the winner’s bracket representative in the final, West Alabama All-Stars, to force a winner-take-all final. The 8U All-Stars lost in the final, but earned a spot in the World Series.

The Clanton 8U All-Stars enter the World Series at 11-4 overall this year, and ranked 19th in Alabama and 49th in the nation amongst 8U teams.


6U Clanton All Stars Roster

Wesley Driver (coach)

Brannon Johnson (coach)

Conner Lane (coach)

Autumn McCarley (coach)

Avery McCarley (coach)

CJ Robinson (coach)

Charlee Byrd

Maren Davenport

Logan Driver

Blair Edwards

Callie Fuller

Emma Johnson

Kenzie Lane

Kylee Jo Langston

Addison McCarley

Isla Robinson

Tatum Strong

Wheylyn Wright

Sadie Jo Wyatt


8U Clanton All-Stars Roster

Matt Easterling (coach)

Brett Roberts (coach)

Bubba Ash (coach)

Alex Smith (coach)

Jay Pierce (coach)

Chanel Agee

Adleigh Ash

Olivia Cleckler

Emmy Clare Doucet

Zaylee Easterling

Emersyn Fancher

Noah Hanzes

Aubrie Roberts

Stevie Shaw

Marilyn Smith

Finlay Sullivan

Avah Taylor