Valley 9 and 10 softball team looks to raise funds for state tournament

Published 7:31 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2019

VALLEY — The Valley 9 and 10-year-old All-Star softball team is excited to move on to the state tournament after winning the district tournament, but the program is now looking for some assistance from the community.

“We really need funds. Anything would be appreciated,” Valley 9 and 10-year-old softball coach Dion Simpson said. “It would help out tremendously.”

Simpson said that the only thing that disappointed him at the tournament in Talladega was that the team only received one trophy for the entire team.

Email newsletter signup

“The girls individually didn’t receive anything, not even a certificate,” Simpson said. “That kind of hurt my feelings a little bit as a coach because I know that when I played ball if you won, you got something to hold onto for the rest of your life. They didn’t get that. As coaches and parents, we’re looking into getting the girls some medals, rings or something for that district tournament. Any proceeds would be greatly appreciated because a lot of this stuff can get expensive, but at the same time, it’s for the kids and they deserve something.”

Funds collected can also go to help parents with any gas or food expenses for the state tournament in Lagoon Park in Montgomery. Bracket play begins on July 12.

Although Valley doesn’t know what team the group will face first in Montgomery, the team is going into the bracket with a great amount of momentum. In the second game of the district tournament, Valley defeated Sylacauga 23-1. The group eventually defeated Sylacauga again 9-1 in the championship. Valley also defeated Talladega in the tournament.

The 9 and 10-year-old age division is one where many players make the transition from coach pitch.

“We had a couple of young girls whose first time playing this type of ball [player pitch] that came up with big hits in the championship game when we were sluggish,” Simpson said. “It was a group effort.”

This marks the first year in recent history that the Valley 9 and 10-year-old All-Star softball team has won a district tournament, Simpson said. In years past, the teams automatically qualified for state tournaments. 

Valley plays very aggressively on the bases, according to Simpson. 

“We have a fast team,” he said. “We’re trying to utilize our speed on the bases. We’re going to take chances, and we leave it up to other teams to stop us from taking those chances. If you can’t stop us from taking those chances, then we’re going to score some runs.”

As proud as Simpson was of the team’s offense, he was also impressed by the pitching and catching.

“Those two, our pitcher and catcher play a lot of ball,” Simpson said. “It showed in the All-Star season.”

The coaching staff of Josh Helleso, Tommy Clifton, Simpson and Lacy Newman preach to the players the value of giving 100% effort and hard work. Simpson said that the latest win was a moment of validation for his teachings.

“Even [on Monday] at practice, I couldn’t even get on the girls for little mistakes that they made because I was still so proud of them,” he said. “My daughter plays on the team also so it’s good to see her excel in something where I didn’t even have to say ‘go play this.’ It’s something that she wanted, something she worked hard for so I’m proud as a dad and as a coach.”

Team parent Jade Letson has started a fundraiser on Facebook for the group. Simpson can also be contacted at or (334) 275-2555.