The Carolina Comets under-16 softball team expects to play its best every time it hits the field.
But the Mooresville-based tournament team never looked better than last month when they won all seven of their games at the Amateur Softball Association state tournament in Mebane to capture the first state title in Comets' history.
The Comets, led by coach Roger McGuffey and assistant Bob Hall, won every game by mercy rule - being ahead by eight runs after five innings or 10 after four innings. The Comets, which scored 68 runs in seven games while allowing only 11, defeated the East Wake Spirit 10-2 in the tournament final June 26.
"If we play our 'A game,' we feel like we're going to win," said McGuffey. "We were definitely at our best at the state tournament. But I still think we can be better."
In claiming the state title, the team earns a trip to the ASA U16 national tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn., on July 31-Aug. 7. The Comets will compete with more than 120 teams with a national crown at stake.
"This will be a great opportunity for our girls to play on a national stage," said Hall. "I think we have the talent to compete with just about anyone."
Rising Lake Norman junior Dominique Wilson was on fire at the plate and on the mound during the tournament. Wilson hit .400 for the tournament with eight hits and seven RBIs while going 5-0 on the mound, recording a 1.04 ERA and striking out 20 batters in 27 innings.
Wilson is 15-2 on the mound for the club season with a 2.19 ERA while hitting .533 with a team-best 14 doubles.
Wilson isn't the only local player to impress. Lake Norman's Kayla McGuffey, also a rising junior and the coach's daughter, led the team in hitting for the weekend, batting .545 for the tournament with 12 hits and four stolen bases from the leadoff spot. McGuffey also leads the team on the year with a .500 batting average and 12 stolen bases, sharing pitching duties with Wilson and Cuthbertson High's Mattie Newsom.
Hough also was well represented, as rising freshman Casey Brescia hit .444 for the weekend with nine RBIs. The Huskies' Katelyn Shifflett hit .364 for the weekend. Kayla Hall was solid as the No. 2 hitter with a .278 average at the plate.
Lincoln Charter's Sarah Kenley (.400 for the weekend) and Mooresville's Kelsey Clark, one of the team's main catchers, drew seven walks.
Although this team has impressive numbers, McGuffey said, the reason the group is successful is they don't focus on individual statistics.
"This is a very unique team in that they play for the team," he said. "Of course, all of these girls want to play at the next level, and I think they will. But they also want to win. The more they win, the more they play, and the more college scouts get to see them."
The Comets will play 90 to 100 games between May and mid-November. The team will play tournaments in Rock Hill, Atlanta and Raleigh in the next several weeks.
While the Comets' ultimate goal is to win every tournament they play in, McGuffey says this team is also about enjoying the journey.
"These girls are like one big happy family," McGuffey said. "Of course they want to play well and win, and they work hard at that. But they also spend a lot of time talking about whatever 15- and 16-year-old girls talk about while doing each other's hair.
"They are a tight-knit group of girls, a very close team. That is what this is all about."