After nearly two months of straight softball, winning their district, winning the state title, then becoming World Series champions, the Angels were welcomed back home to Dunn.
The City of Dunn and its parks and recreation department held a welcoming ceremony for the Dixie Youth softball All-Stars and their families Wednesday evening at the P.K. Vyas Community Center on Jackson Road.
More than 50 people attended, including Dunn Mayor Oscar Harris, Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats, Dunn Chief of Police Chuck West, City Manager Steven Neuschafer, and Brian McNeill, Billy Roach and Nyda Byrd with the parks department.
McNeill thanked everyone who came before congratulating the champions. “These girls have made not only the department but the City of Dunn and its surrounding area super proud,” he said. “They went all the way down to Alexandria (La.) and fought hard at one of the most competitive World Series I’ve seen.”
McNeill admitted that competition at all Dixie Youth World Series events is fierce, but this year’s was especially “tough.”
Said McNeill, “I could say a lot about the games, but these are truly tough girls. They played great defense and had great hitting. I’m really proud of them.”
McNeill thanked all of the coaches for everything they’ve done, including paperwork.
“Thank you parents,” he said, “For representing the City of Dunn well.” McNeill openly hoped that next year’s World Series will be closer, before the crowd of parents and grandparents reminded him that it is planned to be held again in Louisiana.
He praised the girls’ families for sharing the team’s success on social media, via post comments and Facebook Live, and thanked all those who helped fund raise for the team. He thanked The Daily Record for its continuing coverage of the sport.
The Rev. Howard Dudley of First Presbyterian Church of Dunn led the more than 50 people there in prayer.
Dudley thanked God for the girls and for their accomplishments, for the coaches and the parents and their energy. He thanked God for keeping everyone safe during travel and while on the field.
As the aroma of free Little Caesars pizza began to make its way around the room, Mayor Harris was then ushered to the lectern.
Harris openly appreciated Angels head coach Cullen Clark and assistant coaches Clay Stanley and Adam McLamb.
“To all the young ladies, it’s been great and we are so proud of you!” Harris said. “Even though we might not have been in Alexandria (La.), we were streaming, we were texting, we were telephoning and we were keeping tabs on you all the way. We deeply appreciate you and what you mean to the City of Dunn and what you mean to the recreation department.”
The mayor stirred up a rousing round of applause for Chief West and the police escort given to the girls to the welcome ceremony. He recognized Sheriff Coats, booster club president Carolyn Elmore, Neuschafer, McNeill and Roach. “God bless each and every one of you and God speed,” he said.