Hudson, Smith gear up for final Big League World Series run
Recent Indian River High School graduates and softball standouts Rachel Hudson and Karlie Smith have been playing together since they were 10 years old. They’ve played for the Delaware Diamonds travel team, the Millsboro Big League team and, of course, the IRHS Indians. They’ve won seventh-inning thrillers, and they’ve lost them, too.
They’ve teamed up for double plays and knocked each other home countless times. As pitcher and shortstop, they’ve always — both literally and figuratively — had each other’s backs. And just last August, they won their first Big League Softball World Series title. But this season, they’ll take to the diamond for the last time together, as they try to win another one.
“Going out with a win would be icing on the cake,” said Hudson. “Karlie and I have experienced so much together — from World Series wins to state championship titles. One last winning season would be great before moving on.”
“Playing behind Rachel will definitely be something I miss doing these next four years. Since Little League, we have played together, so it’s going to be sad parting ways this fall,” Smith added. “To leave on a high note this summer at the World Series would be an amazing and unforgettable experience.”
Last Monday, June 23, marked the official start of 2014 Big League Softball — a 12-game season that will determine which team represents District III in the 2014 Big League World Series at the Pyle Center in Roxana this August.
Their final season representing Millsboro began just one day after the conclusion of their final season playing for the Diamonds, in which they finished in second place — falling just short of another state championship. The Diamonds’ season had started up just after the Lady Indians had fallen short in the quarterfinals of the DIAA State playoffs — where Hudson and Smith had had their sights set on state title in their final season.
“In the spring, the Diamonds players are each other’s biggest competition when it comes to school ball, but it’s great to play with everyone in the summer and represent our area throughout all parts of the country,” Smith described.
Despite not achieving their ultimate goal during those outings, the girls will look to make up for it by trying to get back to the World Series and winning another title. But first, they know they’ll have to get past Laurel and All-State pitcher Reagan Green.
“I wouldn’t say ‘expecting’ — we definitely are hopeful, but we have to beat Laurel first,” said Hudson of getting back to the national event. “We’re looking at it as a chance to improve our skills. We don’t get to see pitchers like Reagan Green that often — we don’t see many pitchers throwing as fast as Reagan does.”
Green threw a no-hitter when Hudson and Smith faced Laurel this past spring while playing for Indian River, in a 1-0 game that had gone scoreless until the seventh inning.
After three games, the series will continue on Monday, June 30, for a doubleheader in Millsboro, with games scheduled to begin at 6 and 8 p.m. The next game, scheduled for Thursday, July 3, will be played at Lower Sussex at 7 p.m.
“This year we have a lot of returning players, plus a few additions to the team, so we have a good shot at making it to the World Series again this summer,” said Smith.
For updates on Big League Softball as Hudson and Smith make one final World Series run before Hudson heads off to play at Flagler College in Florida and Smith at East Carolina University, follow @CPointSports on Twitter and check out our Instagram, @CoastalPoint.