The Bertram Bandits advanced to their first South Zone Softball World Series after finishing second at a regional tournament in New Braunfels in late June.
The Bandits (51-5) are an 8-and-under coach-pitch team representing the Bertram Youth League. They are Bailey Deal, Emerson Floyd, Kyleigh Bowen, Lynnlee Smith, Preslie Watson, Baylee Hyden, Sydnee Saldivar, Jordyn Albrecht, Keegan Parks, Hadley Huffstuttler, Riley Lindeman, Aubree Guenter, and Laramie Pape. Coaches are Jessica Bowen, Kellen Floyd, Joe Saldivar, Matt Albrecht, and Chad Smith.
Most of the athletes have played together for five years and live in Bertram, Burnet, and Liberty Hill.
The South Zone Softball World Series is July 13-18 in Youngsville, Louisiana. The Bandits haven’t been told their first opponent at the tournament, but Smith said the players are ready after playing more than 50 games this season.
“At that age, it’s all about (repetitions),” he said. “If we couldn’t go to tournaments, other teams would get with me, and we’d do round robins out here. We’re trying to get the girls reps and playing games.”
Smith talked about the team’s strengths.
“Every girl wants the same thing,” he said. “They have one another’s back. They’re out there to get better. When we call upon a girl, she gives 110 percent. Their bond is what keeps this team together and separates it from everyone else.”