The West Cumberland All-Star softball team begins play in the Junior League World Series today at Everest Park in Kirkland, Wash.

Cumberland coach Gary Woodruff is ecstatic for his players, ranging in age from 12 to 14, to experience the event for the first time.

"They deserve it. These girls have been working so hard," he said in a phone interview on Friday from Washington. "I am so proud of the girls."

Cumberland's first game is against West champion Gilroy, Calif., tonight at 5:30 p.m. EDT. Cumberland's second game is against Southwest champion Columbus, Texas, at 2 p.m. Monday.

Woodruff has his eye on his team's third game against the Latin America champions from Mexicali, Mexico, at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.

"Mexico seems to be a really good team," Woodruff said. "They beat Puerto Rico and that's a tough team to beat."

In its final pool play game, West Cumberland will play Emilia Litlte League from Italy at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The quarterfinals begin on Thursday with the top four teams in each pool qualifying.

Woodruff said he encourages his team to make the best, no matter the outcome.

"I want them to go out and have fun. Enjoy it," he said. "This should be something that they remember for the rest of their lives."

Woodruff said some Cumberland players to watch include Hailey Hulitt, Brandy Hatcher, Gracie Meyer and Jackie Lesher.

The World Series runs from today to Aug. 17 with the final broadcast live on ESPN2. You can follow the games live at

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