Liberty, Texas…. have you ever heard of it?
If you’re not familiar with the small Lone Star State town, it’s 43 miles from the metropolis of Houston and has a population 9,200 residents.
If you go there, you could visit the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, check out the Liberty Municipal Park, go to the lake or you could check out some of the best club softball in the nation!
Liberty is home to the 2017 PGF 14U Premier National Champion Texas Dirt Divas and since the program’s Cinderella run in Huntington Beach that summer, when the small-town team beat powerhouses such as the Corona Angels and Batbusters, the players are continuing to train and are eyeing another championship summer in 2019.
So what do you do after you win PGF if you’re the Dirt Diva program? Well, that’s easy: you add five teams to your organization and get to work!
JD Chandler is the mastermind behind the Black and Green and explained how he got to starting the one-off team that has now become a full-blown organization.
“You know how it goes. I was a baseball player, had a daughter, and then I took my knowledge to the softball field,” the coach explains about how it all got started.
In 2011, The Dirt Divas began with a group of local young ladies coming right out of league ball and these littles were ages 9-to-10 and from the small towns of Liberty, Dayton, Hardin, and Huffman.
JD simply took his baseball knowledge and brought it to the girls in the form of drills, conditioning, pitching, hitting, but overall the philosophy of working hard to get better each day.
Like most young teams, the girls practiced twice a week and became a powerhouse on defense very quickly. Add in great pitching and a little bit of offense and the dream had begun.
These small-town Texas darlings played approximately 183 games over the course of their first two years before they moved in to the 12U division. The key to the group’s success is that they all stayed together and moved up together, which is somewhat unusual nowadays.
The constantly-improving team continued to dominate in the 12U division while traveling around the Southeast defeating prestigious and respected teams from clubs like Impact Gold, Diamond Sports Hotshots, the Birmingham Thunderbolts and more.
The Divas put themselves on the nation map by placing 3rd at the USA/ASA National Championship in 2015 and, moving forward to 2017, these “country girls” put on a show during that summer.
Traveling all over “showcasing” their talents, the Divas earned 3rd in the prestigious Colorado Sparkler Jr. tournament before being stunning the softball world and capturing the PGF 14U Premier National title.
It was a magical summer for the team in another huge way: not only did the underdogs from Texas win a championship, each athlete on that team verballed to the college of their choice during the summer or the fall that followed.
From One To Five Teams
We caught up with Coach JD to find out what’s up since winning it all that summer.
“I was so proud of those ladies for putting our unknown single team on the map in the softball world,” he says.
“They work their butts off and to finally get the respect from the softball world they deserve was outstanding. Since that team brought our small town of Liberty to the national scene in softball so quickly, we have expanded our single team to a five-team organization.”
And those Divas are putting in work too.
The organization’s found says they now have the original PGF champion ‘02 team and a 2021 team which consists of all uncommitted players that have the ability to move back and forth to the ‘02 team when necessary. He has also added an ‘04 team, ‘05 team and an ‘06 team.