GRAFTON—Grafton native and Grafton High School (GHS) Lady Bearcat standout Lillie Crimm just had a wonderful opportunity with the 14u Black Diamond Express (BDE) team.
The 14u BDE made the trek to Oklahoma City (OKC) to play in a single elimination pool play style tournament, hosted and produced by the Triple Crown Sports organization (TC).
The Black Diamond Express 14u squad out of Morgantown, WV, was the first team ever from West Virginia making the journey to Oklahoma City for the TC OKC event, that was held on June 3-6 of this past year.
The Black Diamond Express was founded in 2011 by Eddie Campbell and currently fields 11 teams ranging from 8u-18u. Travis Masoner joined the organization in 2018 as a 10u coach; his current 14u team mostly hails from Morgantown.
The Black Diamond Express entered the tournament as relative unknowns, but by the end of the tournament, they had proved to everyone in attendance that not only could the girls from West Virginia compete, they would excel.
“The girls played better than I could have ever imagined,” expressed head coach Masoner. “The teams in West Virginia usually get overlooked in overall recruiting, but I think we left an indelible impression during the OKC tournament.”
GHS pitching sensation Lillie Crimm occupied the circle in every game during the tournament and kept the competition on their toes during the duration of play.
“Lillie pitched wonderful. She came up big for us multiple times during the games. She stepped up, and, at times, battled her way back from the edge to help propel us forward and put some rallies in motion,” voiced Masoner.
The Black Diamond Express faced stiff competition from nationally recognized teams from Tennessee, Texas and Washington in the first round at the TC OKC tourney and secured a victory against each one.
Day two would bring tough battles against Colorado, Fort Worth and Texas teams but the BDE would occupy the winner circle in each contest until the semi-final game against a team from Seattle, Washington who ended the reign for the BDE.
“I can’t say enough about how these girls played and especially Lillie. It’s my hope that all these girls learned that they could compete with anyone in the country,” Masoner asserted. “I want this to build their confidence in all aspects of their life. When we arrived in Oklahoma City, no one knew who we were, but by the time we left, we were known as “THAT” team from West Virginia!”
The staff of the Mountain Stateman would like to congratulate Lillie Crimm and the entire 14u Black Diamond express team on a job well done representing the great state of West Virginia in the tournament.