MOT Senior softball all-stars want to keep season going

By Andy Walter
Posted 7/9/24

MIDDLETOWN — Joe Ponden finds himself in a bit of a quandary.

The MOT Senior League softball manager has 13 players on his all-star roster.

But, unlike in Little League’s …

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MOT Senior softball all-stars want to keep season going

Posted

MIDDLETOWN — Joe Ponden finds himself in a bit of a quandary.

The MOT Senior League softball manager has 13 players on his all-star roster.

But, unlike in Little League’s younger age groups, only nine players get to bat if there’s no substitutions.

“From day one I told them, make my job as difficult as you possibly can,” Ponden joked. “Because if my decision-making is difficult, that means you girls are all playing extraordinarily well.”

So far, it hasn’t been easy for Ponden deciding who gets to play as MOT went 3-0 in winning the District I Senior League title last week.

The Middletown-area squad will try to extend its season a little longer when it faces District II’s Suburban-New Castle in the best-of-three state tournament in Little League’s division for 13-16 year olds.

The series starts on Thursday at New Castle Little League and runs through Saturday, if needed. The games start at 7 p.m. each night.

The state champion earns a spot in the East Regional in Worcester, Mass.

MOT pitcher Myranda Talmadge reaches second base after hitting an RBI double against Camden-Wyoming. Special to the Daily State News/Gary Emeigh
MOT pitcher Myranda Talmadge reaches second base after hitting an RBI double against Camden-Wyoming. Special to the Daily State News/Gary Emeigh

With players in this age group having different commitments, Ponden said the team had only two practices with everyone in attendance before the District I tourney. Still, Ponden knew he had a pretty good roster.

He had coached some of the players since they were 6 years old.

“It was tough to see what the full product was going to be on the field,” he said. “But you could see all the pieces were there. And you don’t know the competition until you get there.

“I knew their potential for something pretty special, just knowing the girls.

And you know what? It certainly clicked. They’re playing excellent, excellent softball.”

In MOT’s 12-2 win over host Camden-Wyoming on Saturday night in the district finals, Kamryn Tuffy had three hits and five RBI to pace the offense.

Winning pitcher Myranda Talmadge threw a three-hitter with eight strikeouts with Ally Taylor and Jaelyn Dillmore both adding two hits apiece.

MOT outscored its three opponents by a combined, 38-11.

The members of the MOT Senior League softball team, in alphabetical order, are: Bridget Archer, Jaelyn Dillmore, Juliana Garafolo, Mackenzie Landry, Saniyah Norman, Mia Orr, Lucy Ponden, Gracie Riccio, Myranda Talmadge, Ally Taylor, Kamryn Tuffy, Maddison Washburn and Charlotte Whitman. SUBMITTED PHOTO.
The members of the MOT Senior League softball team, in alphabetical order, are: Bridget Archer, Jaelyn Dillmore, Juliana Garafolo, Mackenzie Landry, …

As much as Ponden likes his players’ abilities, he’s even more impressed with the way they work together. The players are from different schools in the Appoquinimink School District.

“All the girls, from one through 13, every single one of them comes ready to play, they’re ready to contribute,” said Ponden. “And just ready to win. It’s such a fun group of girls to be around and have the pleasure to coach.”

Between travel tournaments and family vacations, there are plenty of distractions for players this time of year. Ponden, though, believes his squad is pretty focused.

Of course, the East champion gets a berth in the Senior League World Series in Lower Sussex.

“These girls have extreme focus on what we’re doing here,” said Ponden. “There’s definitely no let up. They’re ready to go. They can’t wait to play this week.

“We’re not looking ahead in any way but I know the girls are already thinking about how great it would be to advance past states. ... Our focus is on New Castle ahead of us. We’ll see where it takes us.”

 

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