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South Schuylkill Stampede brings home National Championship

Newswatch 16 caught up with the close-knit team celebrating a big win on their practice field near Ringgold.

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. — The girls from South Schuylkill Stampede Softball finished strong at this past weekend's United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) Eastern "C" National Championship outside Washington, D.C.

The group of middle schoolers won against competitive softball teams from all over the East Coast.

"There was multiple Pennsylvania teams, but there were teams from Ohio, Virginia, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland," Paul Leonard, assistant coach, said. "It was pretty much the whole East Coast."

"It was crazy, there were so many people there. And it felt like there was so many people around just watching, so it was pretty crazy," Aisley Jenan, catcher and outfielder, said.

The South Schuylkill Stampede includes middle-school girls from Blue Mountain, Pottsville, and Schuylkill Haven.

The team went undefeated to take the tournament title. In addition, Kylee Faust won the Most Outstanding Pitcher, and Emily Leonard was awarded the National Championship MVP Award.

"It was crazy, I was so shocked. But I thought any one of us could get this award at least because we all played amazing this weekend," Leonard, pitcher and first base, said.

The team and their coaches credit their victories to how well the girls work together on the field.

"Defensive fielding, probably the best they've ever played. Offensively, every single girl was hitting great. Everybody hit and contributed to score as many hits as we did. I think our total run score was 97," Head Coach Jeff Faust said.

"This past weekend was a great experience for all of us. And I'm almost certain it will stay in our favorite memories forever. And I think we couldn't have gotten this far if we didn't use our teamwork and togetherness throughout the entire tournament," Jo Barnhart, shortstop, said.

The South Schuylkill Stampede is now done playing for the summer. In the fall, they'll regroup and look to defend their national title.

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