Loud applause, individual trophies and a roomful of smiles greeted Rockingham’s own girls softball team, the world champions, on Tuesday evening.
The Rockingham 10U Dixie All-Stars are the 2012 Dixie Angels World Series softball champions, after a recent series of games in Georgia. The team is a part of Rockingham’s Parks and Recreation Department, and is comprised of six 10-year-olds and six 9-year-olds.
Mayor Gene McLaurin and the City Council held a special recognition ceremony for the girls and their coaches during the regular monthly meeting held at City Hall. The room was packed with parents, friends and others to praise the accomplishments of the team.
“You are world champions,” said Mayor McLaurin as he rose from the council table to honor the team.
“The City of Rockingham is very proud of our 10U Dixie Angels Softball World Series Champions,” said McLaurin. “These young ladies all participated in our city sponsored recreation program and were selected after the regular season to represent us in all-star competition.
“Along with the coaches and family members, they made a huge commitment to becoming the best team possible. After winning the district and state competition, they traveled to the Dixie Youth World Series. It was my pleasure to be in attendance along with several city officials and staff members as they won the World Series in Georgetown, South Carolina,” said McLaurin.
“This is a wonderful time in the lives of these young ladies and I’m sure they have learned many lessons, made great memories and strong friendships that will last them a lifetime. As the Mayor of Rockingham, I am proud to see how well these young ladies represented our city and county; they are not only highly skilled ball players but even more importantly, they demonstrated great sportsmanship, teamwork and poise throughout the entire championship,” the mayor concluded.
Vernon Ford, Summer Baseball and Softball Commissioner for the city, also spoke Tuesday of the team’s dedication and his pride in their accomplishment.
Head Coach Michael Way wrestled with emotions as he spoke before the City Council of his pride in the girls. Way also repeatedly thanked the community for rallying behind the team, and showing awesome support during the season and world series.
Members of the championship team are Savanna Barber, Emily Faw, Meredith Gerald, Jenna Greene, Jadyn Johnson, Madison Jordan, Carley Lambeth, Reagan Liles, Layne Maultsby, Jayana Nicholson, Paige Ransom and Greyson Way.
The team’s coaches are Way, Jamie Lambeth, John Maultsby and Mike Ransom.
As City Manager Monty Crump called out each of their names, the girls, and their coaches, were awarded with trophies depicting a golden glove holding a softball, and a T-shirt.
Mayor Pro Tem John Hutchinson praised the team for its “huge accomplishment,” and the city’s recreation department for its athletic programs and teaching youngsters good skills that will serve them all of their lives.
Councilman Travis Billingsley made reference to Title IX, how it helped transform women’s athletics, and “what a tribute this was tonight to that.”
Councilmen A. Eugene Willard and Steven Morris also said they were proud of the girls, and Morris said he’d gotten a phone call this week from a man he first met playing baseball in the 6th grade. Morris said these girls have made friendships that will still be in place 50 years from now.
Councilman Bennett Deane said he has heard repeatedly how the girls represented Rockingham in such a positive way, with poise and dignity. “We appreciate that you’ve been good ambassadors for the city,” Deane said.
In other action Tuesday, the council:
• Adopted a Fats, Oils, and Grease Control Ordinance, to help prevent the mess created in sanitary sewer systems when grease from food service operations builds up. The new ordinance states, in part, “Any nonresidential facility connected to the City of Rockingham’s sanitary sewer collection and treatment system involved in the preparation or serving of foods will be subject to the conditions of this ordinance.” The ordnance requires that these establishments discharge all waste from sinks, dishwashers, drains and any other fixtures through which fats, oils, and grease may be discharged, into a properly maintained grease trap or interceptor. The grease interceptor shall be constructed at the owner’s expense. The city manager said the federal Clean Water Act requires the city to adopt such an ordinance. “I hate to just add regulations, but we’ve got no choice,” said Deane, adding that the council must act to protect the city’s wastewater system.
• Heard a brief report on a proposed Taxicab Permit Ordinance, which Police Chief Billy Kelly has asked council to review, from Crump. Additional discussion on this matter will be held in September. Crump said the ordinance would require taxi permit holders to report within 3 days if they are charged or convicted of a crime, and would allow the police chief to temporarily revoke a license while a criminal case was pending.
• Held a public hearing on several Community Development Block Grant programs, including 2012 Infrastructure Program, 2012 Infrastructure Hook-Up Program, 2012 Small Business and Entrepreneurial Assistance Grant Program, 2012 NC Catalyst Program.
• Praised Chief Kelly and the police department on hosting the city’s National Night Out recently, and the success of the department’s youth academy.