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HISTORY: The West Point 16 and under All-Star team won the state championship this past weekend in Cartersville, Georgia. The team now heads to North Carolina for a chance to represent the Southeast region in the Little League World Series. Submitted

West Point softball team earns state title

CARTERSVILLE, GA. — For the first time in his 42-year career of coaching youth sports, Tug Livingston has won his first championship this past weekend with the 16 and under West Point All-Star Softball Little League team.

“We’ve been close a lot, but going into this we felt like we had a chance,” Livingston said. “I think George [Greene] from the Parks and Rec department felt like we had a really good chance and we built on that.”

On Saturday, West Point defeated Northern Columbus 6-5. Pitcher Miranda Butler led the team with eight strikeouts. Savanna Bryant had two hits in the game, including the game-winner. Coach Livingston’s granddaughter, Hadleigh, went 3-for-4 from the plate in the winning effort.

“We knew we were going to have a tough game with Northern because they always have a great team,” Coach Livingston said. “We just have very great hitters. We knew, going into the game, that we had good hitting and good defense. That’s what won the game for us.”

West Point then won against Vine Eagle from Macon, 15-8. Butler once again earned a win on the mound, going back-to-back days in the tournament. Madison Bryant went 5-for-5 at the plate on the day, mostly coming from bunts. Bryant’s speed allows her to beat out throws to first base that might hose other baserunners, according to Livingston.

Hadleigh Livingston went 4-for-5, Savanna Bryant and Bailey Morrison went 3-for-5 in the championship-clinching game. McKayla Chambers, Sydney Goddard and Ava Brown added hits in the effort too.

“I just threw my hat straight up in the air,” Livingston said. “I knew we had accomplished something we have never accomplished out of West Point when we won this thing. We represented West Point well by winning that state championship. Now we’re going to represent Georgia in the 16 and under. It’s a feeling that you can’t express.”

Six other states are scheduled to meet West Point in the regional tournament that begins on July 20 in Salisbury, North Carolina. West Point’s first game will be against Tennessee at 9:30 a.m. on July 20. Florida, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina are also featured on the bracket.

“It means a lot and we’ve accomplished a lot already,” Livingston said. “We’ve already made a huge step in history for West Point, Georgia. We’re just going to move on from there and hope we can continue our success when we head to North Carolina.”

The team can go as far as Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Senior League World Series, which is under the Little League organization and is a part of the famous tournament that broadcasts on ESPN networks every fall.

To help fund the West Point team heading to North Carolina and beyond, all donations can go to the West Point Parks and Recreation Department. The department can be contacted at 706-645-3529.