In Dixie League softball, being chosen to be an All-Star is no small honor. When All-Star teams are picked every season, only the best of the best usually make the cut. There is a lot of pride taken by these squads and the leagues they represent. If the All-Stars perform well, they have a shot at making the Dixie World Series. This season, one of those All-Stars is Abbey Primavera. At 10, she is a dominant pitcher for the Angels Division All-Stars of Spring Hill Dixie. She hopes to be a major contributor in the rotation and lineup.
There's plenty to live up to: Last season, the Spring Hill Americans Triple-A Majors baseball club made the World Series in Georgia. The Spring Hill Seniors baseball club also earned a berth in the World Series. Hernando Youth League Dixie softball sent their Debs All-Stars to the World Series in Louisiana last season.
Abbey and her teammates are primed for a similar run for the 2009 postseason.
After going 12-0 and surrendering just 14 runs during the season, Abbey's achievements on the mound are well-documented.
"Abbey has developed a lot pitching over the past year and a half because she throws a lot of strikes and doesn't walk people," father and manager Glenn Primavera said. "At this age, that's how you win games."
There are two tournaments, on the district and state levels, the team must go through before making a trip to Sumter, S.C., this summer.
Abbey began playing ball at 6. It didn't take long for her to fall in love with the smell of leather gloves and the feel of firing a ball past a batter in the box.
In four years of Dixie softball, she has been an All-Star each season.
"Softball is my favorite sport," Abbey said. "Mostly, I like the pitching. I am working hard on getting better everyday."
The mound isn't the only place Abbey excels on the diamond.
Batting third in the lineup throughout the season, she led the league with six home runs. She plays solid defense at first base. Coaches say she may be better there than on the mound — and with her dominance on the hill, that is saying something.
If she helps lead the Spring Hill Angels past the state tournament, it wouldn't be Abbey's first experience in the tournament.
In 2007, she was on the Spring Hill Darlings All-Stars that finished third in the country for Dixie softball.
Abbey also has confidence in her teammates.
Along with Emily Vestula and Skylar Heyward, she rounds out a major advantage Spring Hill will have in these tournaments: pitching depth.
"It helps a lot having two strong pitchers ready to go" behind her, Glenn Primavera said.
"Having three pitchers once you get to these tournaments is a huge luxury."
It doesn't matter if Abbey and her teammates match the success of their local Dixie predecessors or Abbey's team in 2007.
What matters is that this team has worked hard and is focused on one goal: getting as far as they can.
As an ace on the mound and a slugger at the plate, Abbey just hopes she can help.
"This year we have a really good team, and I have a feeling we can" do just as well as in 2007.
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