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STATE CHAMPIONS!! 16U Lady Panthers Dominate at Florida State Championships

By Shane Bartholomew, 07/04/17, 12:00PM EDT

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Lady Panthers Go Undefeated at State Tournament

Port Orange Lady Panthers 16u Fastpitch Softball team wins Florida State Babe Ruth Softball Championship. 

Lake City - The Port Orange Lady Panthers Fastpitch Softball club returned home Tuesday bringing with them the Florida State Babe Ruth 16 & under Championship trophy. The five day tournament held in Lake City, Florida featured softball teams from around the state battling for the opportunity to represent Florida in the Babe Ruth World Series. The City of Port Orange Parks & Recreation Department and the Port Orange Lady Panthers enjoy a unique partnership which offers local young ladies an opportunity to develop both on and off the field through the recreation and competitive softball programs. "The opportunities we provide these athletes wouldn't be possible without the support of the City of Port Orange and the community we represent", said Mike Belus Director of Operations - Port Orange Lady Panthers. Traveling to Lake City along with the 16 & under championship team were teams from the 10u and 14u Lady Panthers. Winning their way to the State tournament through a qualifier and a district tournament held last month in Jacksonville, the 10u and 14u teams unfortunately came up short in their quest to win a State title. "The growth and strength of ladies fastpitch softball in our community is a testament to our organization's culture and philosophy, which is shared and supported by the City of Port Orange" said Shane Bartholomew Director of Organizational Development - Port Orange Lady Panthers. "The end result of the dedication of our coaches, parents, and the city is the development of a group of driven young ladies who take pride in representing themselves, the Panther organization, and the community of Port Orange. We seek to empower our female athletes to play at their optimal level by believing in themselves and one another, it's a joy to watch" said Bartholomew. "At the end of the day, watching these athletes develop into dedicated young ladies both on and off the field is well worth the countless hours of effort" said Belus. 

Port Orange went undefeated through the State Tournament, securing 14-0 shutout victories against Northwest Florida and Oviedo, then back to back victories of 10-2 and 12-0 against Clermont.  Starting pitcher Payton Bryan recorded 23 strikeouts, and only allowed 2 runs to cross the plate.  The Lady Panther offense was powered by the leadoff speed of Kenzie Klisz and Chelsea DiTusa. 

The Port Orange Lady Panthers organization is a softball-only focused club committed to young female student athletes in the Port Orange - Daytona Beach and surrounding area.  Our purpose is to provide young athletes an experience which fosters positive self-esteem, team spirit, and individual growth through personal achievement and as a team member.  We are committed to the development of athletic capability and sportsmanship by focusing on teaching the fundamentals of softball in an environment that supports all skill levels ages 8-18.  http://www.portorangeladypanthers.com 

Contact information:

Shane Bartholomew

(386) 212-5210

po_ladypanthers@yahoo.com

Jennifer Sisk - City of Port Orange Parks & Recreation

jsisk@port-orange.org