Team Reaper, a local fastpitch travel ball team based out of Marianna headed to Panama City Beach last week to participate in the USFA World Series. No team had ever won back-to-back World Series championships until Team Reaper accomplished that lofty feat two years ago. No team had ever won three world series either. However, after a long week of play, Team Reaper checked that accomplishment off their bucket list as well by winning their third world series title in five years.
Team Reaper features several Marianna girls on its roster including Chloe Temples, Deana Holland, Gabby Bess, Lauryn Tucker and Brayden Williams. They are joined by Sidney Revels and Rory Long of Holmes County, Mabry Briggs of Bainbridge, Anna Reyes of Wakulla and Cheyann Blackmon of Panama City. They are coached by Lee Temples with assistants Gavin Tucker and Don Holland, all three of which also serve as assistant coaches for Marianna High School softball.
Team Reaper got things started in game one with Sidney Revels in the Circle. They defeated the Indiana Angels 6-1 with Revels going the distance and striking out 10 of the 15 batters she faced and giving up only one hit. Reyes led the team on offense with a pair of doubles and two RBIs.
Game two had the Reapers facing the St. Louis Nemesis. Chloe Temples got the start in the circle and went the distance striking out nine while yielding only one hit in a 4-0 shutout. Gabby Bess led things offensively going two-for-two and taking one for the team. Lauryn Tucker had a crucial single late in the game to score a run for her team.
Team Reaper really got the bats going in the third game against the Oklahoma Blaze outscoring their opponent 13-0 in three innings on the mercy rule. Revels got the start and struck out eight of the nine batters she faced in a no-hit shutout. Mabry Briggs went two-for-two including a monster shot over the left field fence. Reyes and Revels also went two-for-three.
The Reapers went on to win the next three games in a row by a combined score of 18-1. Revels and Temples combined to strike out 22 batters while only giving up four hits and one walk, propelling them into the championship game against the Adidas Show Elite on Saturday. “I knew we were in for a dog fight when the Adidas coach told me that all of his players had either signed or verballed to play at the college level” said Coach Temples. “We’ve got some veterans of our own, but we have some younger players as well that haven’t been in this level of play before.” Game one saw veteran Revels was in the circle for Team Reaper. Revels fanned seven batters in seven innings of work, while giving up nine hits and one walk in a 3 - 0 loss.
Temples led the team offensively going three-for-four and Reyes added two hits for the Reapers. Since this was the Reapers first loss in the double elimination tourney, the two teams proceeded to a second seven inning game for all the marbles.
Chloe Temples started in the circle in game two and relied on her defense to throw a complete game shutout that ended in an epic 1-0 victory for the Reapers. Deana Holland made a game saving play defensively in the sixth inning when she dove for a shot in the hole and not only gloved it cleanly but popped up to her knees and threw a strike to first to get the out and prevent the tying run from scoring. Brayden Williams made two very difficult catches in left field to help stop a pair of rallies as well. Temples scattered seven hits with two strike outs and no walks. Holland also got things started offensively in the fourth with a leadoff single. After Reyes had a sac bunt to move her to second followed by a double by Revels to deep left field to score Holland for the only run of the game. Revels went two-for-three in the champ game with hits also being recorded by Long, Bess and Tucker.
“I have just been so blessed to coach these girls the last few years,” said Temples. “My three seniors this year were just incredible to watch. Sidney is as good as any pitcher in the area right now in my opinion. Anna has some of the best and softest hands at short stop I’ve ever seen. Both girls can swing the bat with the best of them and have speed on the bases. Then there’s my catcher Rory. Rory is the poster child for everything a softball player should be. She has been with me for all four years. From day one she took over and became the leader of the team like any good catcher should be. Always thinking, always looking over the defense, and always knowing what to do with the ball. Rory runs the show most of the time and I just sit back and stay out of her way. She is an excellent pitch caller and swings a monster stick. She is as clutch a player as you will ever find. When the game is on the line and we need a base hit, she’s the one I want in the batter’s box every time,” said Coach Temples. “I am so proud of all three of these girls who are going on to play at the college level next year. As good as they are as softball players, they are even better as human beings. It’s a true testament to the job their parents did not just teaching them to play ball, but to be good kids and good citizens of the community. I have no doubt they will all go on to do great things far beyond softball. I love coaching these girls and watching them grow into incredible adults. I get to spend time with my teenage daughter doing something we both love. What more could a dad ask for?”
Because of the eligibility rules, both Revels and Reyes will be eligible to play one more season with Team Reaper. You can be sure they will be back next year to try and win it all one more time!