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Stars win 8-under state title, World Series next

The dream summer will continue for a local youth softball team.

The Newton Stars 8-under softball team, which is made up of players who participated in the Newton Recreation program this past spring, recently went 7-1 and captured the USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) Georgia state championship in Alpharetta. The Stars had won their first six games, including a 14-7 win over Pride, and needed to defeat Twin Creek Twisters (Woodstock) just once to claim the title. After losing 11-10 in the first game, the Stars picked up a 6-0 victory in the championship game.

“The team rallied behind each other…and fought through adversity and many injuries, a couple thought to be serious, initially,” said Stars coach Scott Standard. “Those injured…refused to leave any game and showed the heart of a champion.”

At the state tournament, Newton averaged over 12 runs in the eight games and allowed just 37 total runs. The Stars, which formed in 2013, will head to Gulf Shores, Ala., for the USSSA World Series July 14-20.

“The Newton Stars were formed last year to simply provide the girls with an opportunity to extend their playing season by participating in tournaments,” Standard said. “We’ve worked really hard this season and wanted to provide the girls and opportunity to compete in another World Series, that just so happens to be at the beach.”

Last year’s team won the Tri-State Fastpitch Softball Association World Series, then nearly half of the players from that squad moved up a level to form the 10-under Stars. The remaining eight-year olds formed the core for the 2014 team, and the Stars have played in eight tournaments, placing in each while capturing three tournament titles - two qualifier tournament championships at the All Star Pre-State June 21 and the USSSA Classic May 31 and the state crown on June 28.

“I’ve been involved in coaching at all ages and probably too many years, but there’s just something special about the girls at this age,” said Standard. “They have their fun and play time, but when it’s time to practice or (on) game day, the maturity they exhibit beats any expectations I could have envisioned.”

The Stars include: Saniah Lederer, Elle Standard, Kyla Stroud, Savannah Mason, Camiyah Smith, T’erica Smith, Kathryn Sweatman, Ryan Henderson, Alexis Hernandez, Chloe McSwain and Macy Langley. Standard is joined on the coaching staff by Horace Stroud, Lawrence Mason and Chad Langley.