Two teams from the Dexter Hurricanes headed to different places this week but with the same goal. It’s been another impressive year for the local girls’ fast-pitch travel softball organization.
The 16-under girls’ team, coached by Karry Niswonger, traveled to Columbus, Ohio on Friday to compete in the All-Sanctioned World Series. The Hurricanes qualified for the World Series last month by taking fourth out of 64 teams at the Midwest Region PGF Regionals in Rockford, Mich.
Karry’s daughters, Katelyn and Megan, play on the 16-U team. Four of the 11 players are from Dexter with the others from nearby communities including Chelsea, Adrian and Dansville and from as far away as Wyandotte and Allen Park.
Meanwhile, the 11-under Hurricanes team, coached by Karry’s husband Dave Niswonger, is headed to the 12-under NSA World Series in Fishers, Ind. The younger Hurricanes qualified for the World Series by taking second place at tournaments in Clinton and Grand Blanc in May.
This is mostly the same team that was the 10-under state champions in 2014 and features “90 percent” Dexter players on the roster.
“Last year we finished second in every tournament until the state tournament,” Dave Niswonger said. “We just couldn’t get that big win to win a tournament. But we got the big win in the state tournament. We didn’t lose a single game and it was a lot of work but a lot of fun.”
The 11-U team has competed in nine tournaments this summer all over the state, including stops in Chelsea, Genesee, Livonia, East Lansing and Davison.
The season began in October and included three indoor tournaments in the winter.
“Our team is physically small but we always battle,” Niswonger said. “We have never been out of a game in two years. We have come back to win big games.”
The Hurricanes began six years ago and continue to grow, both in prominence and number of teams. They currently have five softball teams starting with 10-under and added an 8-under baseball team this season. They will field a 9-under and 13-under baseball team next year.
“We are a community-based organization,” said Niswonger. “Chelsea is so good in high school softball every year because all of their players play travel softball. This past year the Dexter varsity team had only six of 11 playing travel softball.”
Niswonger is well aware of the commitment it takes to play travel softball.
“We are a very softball-intense family,” he said. “And it takes a lot of dedication not only from the player but the family as well. We practice twice a week and play in tournaments on weekends. It takes dedication from the parents and our parents are phenomenal. They all get along and all contribute to the team.”
For more information on the Hurricanes, log onto www.hurricanesfastpitch.com.
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Below is a gallery of photos taken of the Dexter Hurricanes softball team during recent games detailed in the above article.