All-Stars take care of businessPublished 5:17pm Monday, July 22, 2013
With the task at hand, the Washington 14U All-Stars got down to business and never looked back. Trailing by three runs in the bottom of the seventh, the team that had not lost a game in the district, state and regional tournaments put on their suites and ties and went to work on a four-run game-winning rally to capture a 7-6 victory over Mt. Dora (Florida) in the championship game of the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional tournament in Glen Allen, Va. on Sunday.
Tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh, Haley Witham reentered the game after having been forced to the sideline as a result of an earlier collision and drilled the first pitch she saw to plate pinch-runner Sydney Keech and capture the regional championship.
With no World Series in their age bracket, the 14Us completed their summer having won 14 straight games against elite competition dating back to the District 6 tournament and Sunday’s come-from-behind victory was indicative of their splendid summer.
“This team has character and integrity and they are always there for each other,” Washington Girls Fastpitch Softball League president Greg Dority said. “The going got tough and they refused to quit.”
Playing against a team they had beaten twice already during pool play, the All-Stars faced off again against a quality Mt. Dora squad in a winner-take-all showdown Sunday morning.
The All-Stars took a 3-1 lead after the first inning, but Mt. Dora managed to score two runs in the fourth to tie it and three runs over the next two innings to take a 6-3 lead into the final frame.
Mt. Dora entered the bottom of the seventh three outs away from a regional title but never recorded one as the All-Stars exhibited perfection in the home half of the inning.
Hailey Harris sparked the rally with a leadoff walk and advanced when Mt. Dora failed to field a Meghan Moore hit. Jordan Pierce followed up with an RBI single that scored Harris and chipped Mt. Dora’s lead down to 6-4.
The All-Stars tied it on their next at-bat as Rachel Lang drilled a two-run single that helped set the stage for Haley Witham’s game-winner.
“When we got to the bottom of the seventh (Witham) told Coach (Brad) Horton that she wanted to go back in,” Dority said. “Then she hit the game-winner on a liner. The kid’s as tough as nails.”
Witham finished the contest going 3-3 with a double and two RBIs.
Once again the pitching combo of Lang and Harris was strong as Lang struck out six in the first five innings, while Harris threw the final two and fanned one to get the win.
At the plate, Lang went 3-4 with two RBIs, while Meghan Horton finished 2-4 with an RBI and Jordan Pierce, Kaitlyn Ivey, Chaleigh Baynor and Sarah Lynch each had one hit.