Last Saturday morning, the 11 girls who are representing the Daniel Boone Little League during this week’s Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon, were fueling up on chicken biscuits at the Chick-fil-A on Peoples Street.
The event was a sendoff for the relatively young squad, which shocked many by winning the Southeast Regional in Warner Robbins, Georgia, to earn a spot on the world stage. Come Wednesday night, Anna Grove, Sadie Henson, Anna Richardson, Kayleigh Musser, Kyleigh Bacon, Riley Croley, Awna Kuykendall, Kayleigh Quesinberry, Lillie Walters, Josie Jenkins and Ava Saul will be playing a World Series game televised on ESPN+, but there was no sign of nerves on Saturday.
Staying cool under pressure has been a hallmark of this team, which managed to stay loose during its run to the regional title.
“It was unbelievable,” said team manager Lori Jenkins, who is assisted by Freddie Saul and Steven Croley. “They were just so calm the entire time. We really didn’t have to say much to them. It was like they had a job to do, and they stayed focused.”
In the wake of the regional title, a wave of support has risen up in and around the Gray community to help make the cross-country trip to Portland possible. Last Friday night, money raised at a fish fry at Daniel Boone High School helped make this week’s trip a reality.
While the competition in Portland promises to be tough, Jenkins said her team is going into the World Series expecting to contend.
“When we got to Warner Robbins, we said, ‘Why not us?’ So we’re still playing off of that,” Jenkins said. “Why not us? Why can’t we do this?”