WEST TAMPA — These girls knew even before the season started they would do something special.
Beaten by one run during the last game of the 2009 season, the West Tampa Little League Junior Girls Softball Division built this year's team where they left off.
So for some it is no surprise that the team went undefeated on its way to winning its first state title in league history. On July 27, West Tampa defeated a team from Naples during a tournament in DeLand to advance to the regional competition in Fort Myers.
"We knew even last year we had a really good chance," said league president Maggie Puentes. "This team is special because they've been together for so long. They are very close."
The girls, mostly 13- and 14- year-olds, have played softball together since they were 5. This season they started practicing and competing in February, usually about five days a week.
The girls were playing at the regional tournament in Fort Myers this week. Their performance there determines if they travel to Kirkland, Wash., on Aug. 14 to play in the Junior Softball Division World Series.
"Oh my gosh, the World Series. That's a dream come true for the players, the parents, the league and the community," Puentes said. "It's something that these girls look forward to."
Jared Leone can be reached at (813) 226-3435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.