World Series teams have praises for city

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shown are (in no order) Ted Eaton, Madison Binkard, Becky Eaton, Mady Hart, Ed Hart, Lexi Adams, Ben Adams, Debbie Gerlach, Mark Gerlach and Ruth Adams of Missouri. The group was all that was left remaining of the team. Others opted to travel to Florida for vacation before heading back home. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News

Babe Ruth softball players fell in love with Southern hospitality and Southern delectables during their time in Andalusia.

On Monday, the Mineral Area, Mo., team enjoyed lunch at Ophelia’s Italian Restaurant on River Falls Street.

The trip to Ophelia’s proved to be a success as the team discovered the restaurant’s bread sauce, which they described as “just amazing.”

Additionally, the team said they tried out Beef O’Brady’s, where the ribs “were to die for.”

“The food here, like the people, is outstanding,” said Mark Gerlach. “Those ribs at Beef’s – we’ve never tasted anything like them before.”

His wife, Debbie, had nothing but good things to say about the food at Ophelia’s, as well.

“We lost (Monday) so we’re headed home,” Debbie said. “We couldn’t leave without eating at Ophelia’s again. I’m going to remember this sauce forever.”

Missouri coach Ted Eaton said Babe Ruth officials offered to pay for the coaches’ flight home; however, it would have been today before they could catch a plane home. That wasn’t soon enough, he said.

“We’ve had a great time here,” he said. “I didn’t want to wait to leave. There’s a group of us here that drove, so I decided to rent a car and drive back.”

Eaton said the bulk of his team couldn’t resist seeing white sand and surf before going back up North.

“They’re in Florida,” he said. “They just had to go to the beach. I don’t blame them.”

Missouri’s team wasn’t the only one that enjoyed the Southern treats and hospitality, the girls from Lodi, Calif., agreed.

“I enjoyed eating at Larry’s Barbecue,” said Sydney Marks. “I tried the baked potato and it was delicious.”

For Marks and teammate Lauren Vickers, it was their first time visiting the South.

“(Andalusians) made a really good impression,” they said.

Teammate Hannah Russell, who played in last year’s World Series in Alachua, Fla., agreed.

“The people here are so friendly,” she said.

All three girls said they got their first chance to try Southern sweet tea, and all said they loved it.

Russell said her favorite place to eat was at David’s Catfish.

“I tried hush puppies for the first time,” she said. “They were great.”

Like many, the girls said it took a little time to get used to Alabama heat.

“It’s really humid,” Marks said. “But we got used to it.”

Russell agreed.

“The heat is more sticky here,” she said. “It’s a lot cooler in California.”

Russell said the heat here was better than the Florida heat she encountered last year.

“There were some windy days here this year,” she said.

All three girls said they didn’t really know what to expect when they found out they were coming to Alabama.

“The people have been great,” Marks said. “We’ve had fun.”