Shenandoah 12-U All-Stars claim World Series title

Dedication is a word often thrown around in sports circles.

Each athlete possesses a different level of dedication. Each coach dedicates a different amount of time and effort to the team.

The Shenandoah 12-U All-Stars made dedication the focal point to win the Babe Ruth 12-U World Series in Jenson, Fla. last weekend. They believed in one another. They were never going to be stopped.

From the coaching staff down to the 12 girls that suited up in their prideful navy blue uniform each game, there was no questioning the team’s heart and desire to win for one another.

On a typical work day, Shenandoah head coach Jamey Hensley gets into work by 5 a.m. As an engineer for the railroad company, he has to be precise in every move he makes. In the summer, he heads from work to practice. Sleeping for two or three hours a night was often a commonplace. He used his vacation time so this year’s team could go to the World Series.

“Over the years, it’s been tough getting away from work,” Hensley said. “But everyone involved makes sacrifices. When it ends up in a World Series title, we wouldn’t change anything.”

Assistant coach Megan Gordon works full-time as the Program Director for the Page Alliance for Community Action. Chad Umberger — another assistant — also works on the railroad. Both have given up their time and personal life for the betterment of the team.

As for the kids, it’s obvious that the dedication passed on by their coaches has become a staple. There hasn’t been time for summer camps or slumber parties. The last two months have been given to the sport of softball, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Taylor Umberger, a key player on this year’s team, describe the bond between the All-Stars as a “family.”

“Just how we played so well as a team and how we bonded at the park and hotel,” Taylor Hankins said when asked about her most memorable moment from the World Series.

A quick look to last season will provide another example of the girls’ desire to be the best. An 8th place finish in the 2015 World Series never deterred them. Instead, they came back stronger and better to win it all.

Over the next few months, the autumn leaves will sweep into Page County and the World Series will become a distant memory. But now, for the rest of their lives, this group of young ladies can say they won on softball’s biggest stage. And one day, they can tell their children the hard work and commitment it takes to accomplish their goals. It doesn’t come easy, but dedication wins every time.

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