Considering the softball team a family, the Carolina Troublemakers of Salisbury, N.C., has good expectations for the Class B Girls Fastpitch World Series taking place in Rock Hill and Charlotte this week.
"They hope to win first place," said Barbara Mullis, mother of Troublemakers player Lindsey Mullis, 15. "I hope they win."
Mullis said she loves to watch her daughter play.
"If we didn't have to work, we would do it all the time," she said and yelled words of support for her daughter, who was playing. "This is her love."
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The Troublemakers players and coaches all get along together, Mullis said.
"They're best friends," she said. "It's like a family. It's our softball family."
Stacey Wolfrey, 16, who plays for the Troublemakers, agrees.
"We see our team as a family," she said. "Everybody in the family has a spot in the team. As a group, we respect everybody."
She said she is having a lot of fun playing the World Series.
"You work all year to play this tournament," said Wolfrey, who practices three times a week. "We really expect to show everything we have and beat everybody."
• IT'S A BREEZE: Playing the World Series for the first time as a team, the Southern Breeze of Prince George County, Va., is enjoying the tournament.
"It's been a very positive experience for us," said Randy Hewett, assistant coach of the team.
His daugther, Jordan Hewett, who plays for the team, agrees.
"It's hard," she said. "A lot of competition."
For 80 percent of the Southern Breeze girls, the World Series is the first "big event" they have ever played, Hewett said.
Even though he said the girls were not doing well Tuesday, "overall, they played well" Monday.
"We're just strengthening our team," Hewett said. "We would be happy if we finish somewhere in the middle. We're a young team still bonding as a team."
• NICE WORK: Working in the World Series for the fifth straight year, Robin Carlson-Poe, side director for 16-and-under, said she is enjoying the "family atmosphere" of the tournament.
"We always plan to be at the Wold Series at some function," she said, referring to herself and her husband, Mike Poe, the tournament director for 12-and-under. "We look forward every year. The level of play is good."
David Summerrow, umpire for NSA, also said he likes to work in the World Series. It's his 12th straight season umpiring for the Series.
"I enjoy watching the girls," he said. "I feel part of the organization that provides these girls an opportunity to play."
Summerrow, who is from Greenville, said he hopes to see in the tournament an outstanding player who may turn into a professional softball player. He said it's always an honor to see girls he saw playing when young doing well in a professional league.
But if the the girls can't play professionally, he said he hopes to see them in college on a softball scholarship.
"I want them to go there ... and succeed in what they're doing," Summerrow said.
He said umpiring is a hobby he enjoys.
"If I didn't enjoy, I wouldn't do it," said Summerrow, 60, who has been working as an NSA umpire for 20 years. "As long as I stay healthy, I would like to continue umpiring."
• MORE THAN JUST GAMES: At the World Series, girls participate not only to play but also to make friends and meet people from all over the country.
"it's a good way for the girls to meet girls from other states," Randy Hewett said. "It's one of the reasons we came here."
Jordan Hewett said she likes to meet new people.
"It's fun," she said. " There's different people here."
Another way to meet different people at the World Series is during the Pin Swap that took place at the Charlotte Knights Stadium on Tuesday night, Carlson-Poe said.
All the teams playing the tournament attend the event where the players, parents, coaches and organizers mingle together. At the event, the girls exchange the pins of their team with others.
The Southern Breeze girls, Hewett said, brought 50 pins each to exchange.
Teams make up their own costumes for the event, Carlson-Poe said. She said a team last year was inspired by "The Wizard of Oz" to create their costumes. The coach was dressed like a lion.
"It's a carnival-type of thing," Carlson-Poe said.
Making friends is a good thing about playing the World Series, Summerrow said.
"Anything is possible in softball," he said. "Even making friendships. Hopefully, (the girls) will keep their friendship for life."