Pitt County softball team wins 16U state championship
Pitt County’s 16U team won the Babe Ruth League state championship July 3 in Havelock. The members of the team are, front row, from left: Kennedy Harris, Kim Gurkins, Kiley Guthrie, Leah Neely, Morgan Eisenzimmer, Abby Moore, Kristen Hardee; back rom, from left: Assistant coach Wayne Hardee, Laura Grace Wade, Head coach John Gurkins, Samantha Taylor, Taylor Bowen, Macy Moret, Assistant Coach Robert Moore, Ja’Lexis Terry, Assistant coach Bobby Bowen, and Savannah Pollard. Submitted photo
North Carolina’s best U16 softball team won’t play in the World Series.
Recently, Pitt County’s team went 6-0 during the Babe Ruth League tournament in Havelock, ending with a 4-2 win over Chocowinity in the title game July 3. Kim Gurkins, who played on the team, said it took a bit of time to get going, but never stopped rolling from there.
“At first, we started off a little rusty because we had only practiced for a couple of days,” Gurkins said. “After the first inning, everything clicked and we did everything we were supposed to, winning our first game 19-1.”
Despite the great showing in the state tournament, finances are the reason Pitt County won’t have the chance to add to an impressive list. Since 2000, the area has won 10 World Series titles, including eight in the 12U division and one 16U championship in 2009. Pitt County 16U coach John Gurkins said there wasn’t enough time to fundraise and the deadline has passed.
“The World Series is held in Jensen Beach, Fla. and it was a $25,000 trip,” he said. “In fact, the hotels alone were $17,000 and we wouldn’t have been able to put it all together. We also had to order new uniforms (Monday) because there were a couple of ‘Salute to the Troops’ games we would also play in. It’s unfortunate, but we had to turn it down.”
Kim Gurkins said the chances for an 11thnational title felt high.
“From what we were told, if we had been able to get down there we could’ve had a clean slate like the state tournament,” she said. “With the team we have, we could’ve run-ruled just about anyone we played.”
John Gurkins said there is a strong possibility for the team to see the World Series in 2020, moving up to 18U.
“A few of the players on this team won’t be eligible for 16U, but I feel like this time is good enough for everyone to move up to the next level and bring another World Series to Pitt County,” Gurkins said. “This would be the first for the county in 18U softball, and if we’re blessed with the opportunity, we’ll be ready.”