Greenville softball star plays in World Series

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 29, 2004

Like most high school students, Brittany White had an exciting trip to the beach this summer.

Unlike most, the Greenville High School freshman had the opportunity to play for the Panama City Beach Starlets softball team in the United States Fastpitch Association World Series held in Panama City two weeks ago.

&uot;It was exciting and kind of scary because I didn’t know what to expect,&uot; White said. &uot;I didn’t know how the competition would be and how strong it would be.&uot;

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White stumbled upon the opportunity to play in the World Series after inquiring about another tournament she was to play in next week.

&uot;I felt pretty privileged to get to play with them,&uot; White said. &uot;They invited me because they needed more pitching.&uot;

White, who pitches and is an infielder, finished the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record including a save. She struck out 15 batters and gave up three earned runs in 23 innings of work helping lead the Starlets to a Top Eight finish in the six-day, 178-team tournament .

&uot;We did really good,&uot; White said. &uot;Every game that we won was low scoring games and the games we lost we only got beat by one or two points. Every game was really close and we could hold everybody we played.&uot;

White picked up wins over Knoxville, Tenn., Niceville, Fla. and Louisiana. Even though she did well, she said the competition was stiff.

&uot;The competition was strong,&uot; White said. &uot;They had real good pitching and the defense was strong. It was tough competition.&uot;

White said having a strong defense backing her up on the mound also helped tremendously to succeed during the event.

&uot;It was a little different because I didn’t have to strike every batter out because I had a defense to back me up if they did hit the ball,&uot; White said. &uot;I had more confidence to throw it where they could hit it instead of just trying to throw it by them. It was a lot easier to keep throwing strikes.&uot;

Starlets Head Coach Harold Nielens said White’s contributions were key in the team’s success. He also said her approach to the game helped in her success.

&uot;She’s got an outstanding attitude,&uot; Nielens said. &uot;Hopefully she’ll come and play the whole summer with us next year. She’ll get a lot more playing time and the opportunity to play in more tournaments.&uot;

Nielens’ teams have advanced to the World Series four out of the past five years. The Starlets advanced to the big tournament this season after finishing second in the Florida State Tournament. They placed 15th last year in the World Series.

&uot;Brittany was definitely a big asset to us,&uot; Nielens said. &uot;We played 11 games and three of those she won for us. Not only that, she also came in and had a big stick at the plate.&uot;

White also finished the tournament with a .417 batting average. She slapped five singles, drove in four runs and scored twice. She said playing a higher level of ball in Greenville helped her performance at the plate.

&uot;It was a lot easier to hit because I’m used to playing 18 & under where the girls were throwing really fast,&uot; White said. &uot;The speed kind of slowed down and it was a lot easier to hit.&uot;

As for next year, White plans to play for the Starlets once again.

&uot;I’m going to play with them all summer next year,&uot; White said.