Fresh off its state championship win last week, the Sherman Lady Cats youth softball team will soon be headed to the Dixie League World Series for a shot at the national title.

The 12 Lady Cats players, who are all between seven and nine years old, claimed victory at the state championship in Center on Tuesday and did so on top of undefeated record achieved during their both regular season and district championship bid. The girls will go on to Sumter, South Carolina to compete against teams from every other state in the World Series tournament, which begins Friday.

“We were very fortunate to get together a group of girls this talented and especially at such a young age,” assistant coach Lisa Whitmire said.

Whitmire, along with husband and head coach Aaron, said in their ten years of raising softball players and coaching teams the Lady Cats team assembled this season is unlike anything she has ever seen. The assistant coach said several of the players have been able to knock pitches over the fence and out of the park and one even boasted the fastest overhand pitch of those competing in the state skills tournament.

“There are several players on are team where I can honestly say that I’ve never seen kids at their age that can play like they do,” Whitmire said.

Nine-year-old Avery Avery Howerton, who plays third base for the Lady Cats, said she felt confident her team would win the World Series and added that all the success, thus far, was the result hard work.

“The Lady Cats are really good and we are so excited that we won,” Howerton said of the state championship clench. “It was really good. Me and my teammates have worked really hard for this.”

But the team will have to continue its hard work, right up until the tournament. Whitmire said the girls and their families will hold a number of public fundraising events in the coming week to help with the travel expenses.

“It would be great if we could raise about $10,000,” Whitmire said. “That’s what we’re hoping for. That would help cover everybody’s driving expenses, hotel rooms, gas and food. It adds up, so every little bit will help.”

And when the girls aren’t fundraising, Whitmire said they’ll be out on the diamond, practicing their fielding and batting.

The team said it will adopt the name the Texas Lady Cats going into the torunament so that it can best represent the Lone Star State. Whitmire said the girls and their family members will be on hand to accept donations Sunday at Chili’s in Sherman. Donations can also be placed at the team’s GoFundMe page, which can be found by searching “Texas State Champs World Series.”