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Angels players excel at nationals
Softball players Katie Rietkovich, Shelby Duff and Sally Faircloth made an impact on their respective teams in the USA/ASA 16-under National Tournament. - photo by Photo submitted

For three local softball players, one season is over but another one is about to start.

The South Effingham Angels’ Shelby Duff, Katie Rietkovich and Sally Faircloth have wrapped up play with their respective teams in the USA/ASA 16-under “A” Nationals in Sioux Falls, S.D., and are currently awaiting the start of the high school softball season on Aug. 17.

Duff, who plays for Effingham County, and Rietkovich and Faircloth, who play for South Effingham, will be in opposing dugouts when the Lady Rebels visit South Effingham to open the softball season.

In the recent national tournament, which concluded Sunday, all three had a good series.

Duff, playing for the Georgia Mustangs, pitched in four games and converted both of her save opportunities. Her team finished 32nd out of 140 teams competing in the tournament.

Rietkovich’s Georgia Knockouts also finished 32nd. The third basemen started every game and did not make an  error. At the plate, she hit .450 (9-for-20), with a double and three RBIs. She also scored a run.

Faircloth’s Georgia Impact finished 23rd. The Impact defeated the Knockouts 8-4 before being eliminated by the Wichita Mustangs in a 5-3 loss. Faircloth went 1-0 with two saves. Counting Faircloth’s statistics from last season’s tournament, she is 5-0 with four saves and a 1.01 ERA.

The Impact, Knockouts and Mustangs finished in the top 1 percent of 16-under softball teams in the country.

Faircloth, Rietkovich and Duff not only got to play with the best but also were seen by the best. More than 200 colleges, including the University of Arizona, University of Georgia and University of Tennessee were scouting the class of 2009.

The Nashville Predators swept the competition, going 8-0 to win the national championship.

Next year, Duff, Rietkovich and Faircloth hope to be competing in the national tournament with the Angels. The 18-under tournament will be in Moline, Ill.