BY MARCY SHORTUSE – When Zoey Mills steps up to the pitcher’s mound, the opposing team sits up a little straighter. That’s because Mills, a right-handed 10-year-old at The Island School, is a true force to be reckoned with. She helped her softball team, the Englewood Bombers, finish their season undefeated with a 10-0 record last month, and she helped them reach the championship game in the last tournament of the season.
In that tournament that fielded teams from Englewood, Desoto, Venice, Port Charlotte and North Port, they ultimately lost to Venice. While it was a disappointment, the girls took heart in the fact that they were the only team out of 11 in the league to have an undefeated regular season.
Mills was the starting pitcher during the last two games of regular season play, and Coach Frank Silvia said she and catcher Madison Kinkade are a well-tuned duo who helped them take it all the way.
“From the get-go our defense has been amazing, particularly between our catcher and Zoey, our pitcher,” he said. “They were an unstoppable defense. Zoey can hit the strike zone nine times out of 10, and she did pitch a no-hitter this year.”
Zoey comes by her talent naturally, as her father, Capt. Waylon Mills, flirted with professional baseball playing when he was younger. Zoey’s uncle, Capt. Willie Mills, played for the White Sox organization. Both were pitchers.
While batting practice continues almost all year-round, sign-ups for the next season will be held in the spring.
The Englewood Bombers are part of a fast-pitch softball program for girls 4 to 16, split into age divisions. If you would like more information, contact Englewood Bombers President Dave Goldsby or go to the Englewood Bombers Facebook page.