14U All-Stars advance to title game
Published 12:57 pm Saturday, July 23, 2011
The Washington 14U All-Stars played late through the night before waking up for early for another hotly contested battled in even hotter temperatures, but when it was all said and done it was worth as they went 2-for-2 on the second day of the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional tournament to advance to the championship round Saturday.
On Friday, record-breaking heat in Varina, Va. wreaked havoc on the tourney schedule and forced the All-Stars to play their game against Ocala, Fl., at 9:30 p.m., while their second game of the evening against Downeast (N.C.) was cancelled.
The All-Stars battled until 11:45 p.m. and when it was all said and done they improved their perfect tourney record to 3-0 as they topped Ocala 8-4.
“The Southeast Regional has now gone to pool play instead of the old double-elimination format and generally speaking it has caused a lot of headaches and confusion. The tournament has been under pressure time-wise,” said Washington Girls Fastpitch Softball president Greg Dority via cell phone.
“The parents have been hanging in there — they’re the 14U’s biggest fans — and the kids love it because they can stay up late.”
After a long night, the All-Stars had to get up for 10 a.m. game against Madison, but they proved they were up to the task as they legged out thrilling 7-6, nine-inning win to advance to the championship round of the tourney where they will face Ocala for a second time.
Heading into its first matchup with Ocala, Washington was extremely concerned about defending the slap and bunt game. However, the All-Stars were able to play stellar defense and produce eight runs to counter Ocala’s speedy attack and remain the tourney’s only team without a loss.
“We had problems with the Florida slap hitting attack, their slappers were very successful,” Dority said. “But we managed to bring our defense to the table and limit the damage their speed could do … We overwhelmed them with a strong offensive attack.”
Washington produced 16 hits in the game as Catie Dority went 3-4 (3B, 2 RBI), Kendall Alligood went 1-2 (RBI), Kelsey Lang finished 3-4 (2B, RBI), Haley Wright went 3-4 (RBI), Allison Brantley was 1-3, Adriana Tyson went 1-3, Haley Hutchins was 1-2 (RBI) and Anna Hardison went 3-4 (2 RBI).
Haley Hutchins would be the game’s winning pitcher.
After topping Ocala, Washington had to face Madison for the second time in the tournament. The All-Stars already topped Madison 7-5 in extras in the first matchup, and would need extra innings to get the victory the second time around.
The two teams were deadlocked at 6-6, but that would change in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Hardison singled to left, moved to second on an error and then to third on a past ball before Dority hit a sac fly to right that allowed Hardison to score just ahead of the throw to win the game.
“Coach (Wendy) Godley rolled the dice by sending the runner and she came up a winner with that call,” Dority said.
Lang started the game and threw 4 2/3 innings before Hutchins came in for the final 4 1/3 to get the win.
Dority said that there might not have been a victory had it not been for some tremendous plays in the field by the All-Stars.
“There were two key defensive plays. (Center fielder) Alex Adams threw out the go-ahead runner at the plate in the top fifth on a single center. She came up and threw a one-hop bullet to the plate. Then, in the top of the seventh Anna Hardison made a diving catch in right field to take away extra bases.”
At the plate, the All-Stars tallied 11 hits as Dority went 1-2 (2 RBI), Tyson and Lang each drove in a run, Brantley and Hardison both went 2-5, Wright finished 4-5 (2B, RBI) Kaylee Jackson was 2-4 and Adams went 2-5.