Santa Fe Raiders youth softball prepares for the World Series

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A Sante Fe Raiders player works on a batting drill during practice. (Erin Manson/WUFT News)

The crack of the bat and the clatter of cleats fill the air as the Sante Fe Raiders prepare for their upcoming tournament.

“We’re getting these kids prepared for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They’re being able to play against teams from other countries,” Santa Fe Head Coach Gene Findley said.

After winning districts, the Raiders were invited to represent the city in the Babe Ruth World Series.

This 8-and-under all-girls softball team will play against 11 other teams from around the country.

With the Pool Play Games beginning on July 29 and the championship on Aug. 3, Findley said he has high hopes for the girls’ performance.

“We’re hoping to play all nine days… the games will run from Saturday to the championship game on Thursday,” Findley said.

With two to three practices a week, the girls have worked hard to compete at this level, he said. A typical practice includes scrimmages, drills and power exercises.

Emery Tomlinson, player number 32, retrieves her bat from her bag to work on swinging drills. (Erin Manson/WUFT News)

“Do it right, do it light. If we do it wrong, we do it long,” Findley said. “As long as they continue to do the little things right, big things will happen.”

Emery Tomlinson, a 9-year-old player, had this to say about the upcoming tournament: “I’m nervous and excited. It’s really fun playing.”

According to Emery, the team gets along great. “We are all friends. We’re all happy and competitive. I’m one of the competitive ones,” said Emery.

Haidyn Ford, player number 34, said she looks forward to the trip and competing on the field. “I like that I can be outside. I just like working with my teammates,” Haidyn said.

The Raiders have posted a GoFundMe to help the players and families with expenses for the tournament.

“Anything and everything that anybody can do is a great blessing to us. Our main goal is for these kids to have a good experience while they’re down there,” Findley said.

Santa Fe Raiders players practice a throwing drill on the softball field. (Erin Manson/WUFT News)

About Erin Manson

Erin is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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