The Christina Flames 99-14 U will be traveling to Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
July 8 to participate in the ISA Fastpitch Softball World Series.
The Flames team is comprised of 12 athletes ages 12-15 from Polk and Hillsborough counties, who all have high expectations of participating in prep sports in the upcoming years. The team is coached by Tammy Van Loan who started coaching at Miss Christina Softball for 17 years. She coached the Christina Flames for four years. In recent times she has advocated for the young athletes, as they were recently kicked off of their home fields, due to new county regulations.
The team now practices at Loyce Harpe Park in Mulberry.
Some of the Christina Flames already have experience in prep sports. Samantha Rodriguez, as a freshman was Fort Meade Middle Senior’s is the starting varsity pitcher. Hailey Meecham played JV for Fort Meade and Brooke Smith for Bartow High. All have high expectations of making varsity this spring. Edmily Molina and Tori Garrison will be trying out for Plant City High School. Ellie Biddle will also be trying out for Strawberry Crest High School. All three will be entering ninth grade.
Paige Renner will be attending Mulberry Middle, Taylor Van Loan will go to Lakeland Highlands Middle, Kaeyln Holley will go to Jewitt School of the Arts and Samantha Palestri will go to Tomlin Middle School. All of these athletes will be entering the eighth grade.
Brianna Moffit, of Shiloh Middle, is entering the seventh grade.
The team would also like to thank local businesses that partnered with the Flames to make all of this possible through various fundraisers. Those are Magnify Credit Union, Publix, Bartow Beef O’ Brady’s and Krispy Kreme of South Lakeland. Murphy USA and Bella Lei Hair Designs for cash donations.
Recognition also goes out to the Polk County School Board, Aarons, Re/Max-Jan Bellamy Team, Holley-Mac Land Services, TD Bank, Centerstate Bank, Century Realty Funds and Ardella Baptist Church, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for the generous donations of various promotional items to be distributed as a keepsake to the opposing teams during the World Series.