Published 2:35 pm Monday, July 25, 2011
They went to Varina, Va., on a mission to dominate whatever came their way and by Sunday afternoon that mission was accomplished. The Washington 14U All-Stars steamrolled their way to the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional tournament championship round where they continued to torch opponents by topping Ocala, Fl., 8-3 to come back home with a tourney title.
The win over Ocala capped off a magnificent 14-game stretch that began with a perfect 2-0 showing to win the District 6 title and continued at the State Championship tourney where the All-Stars went 7-0, before going 5-0 at the Southeast Regional. All that hard work set the stage for an eruption once the final out was recorded.
“It was pure jubilation,” Washington Girls Fastpitch Softball League president Greg Dority said via cell phone. “Washington probably had about 50 fans there screaming and yelling with their cow bells going. The girls grabbed the bucket of ice water and dumped it on coach Wendy Godley and the team just went wild.”
For Washington, it was their third Southeast Regional appearance in the last five years.
Out of all the teams in the tourney, Washington was most fearful of Ocala because of their speedy bunt and slap attack. However, the All-Stars were able to shutdown Ocala earlier in the week when they won 8-4. They would do it again on Sunday.
Washington jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning when Catie Dority and Adriana Tyson each drew a walk, setting the stage for Kelsey Lang to smash a two-run double. The speedy Sarah Woolard, who had the game-winning hit in the state championship game, entered the contest as a pinch-runner for Lang and would score when Anna Hardison ripped a double.
From there, Lang, who struck out five batters, and the Washington defense would dominate.
“We were able to shut down the Florida hitting attack,” Dority said. “Kelsey Lang was masterful with a dazzling display of off-speed pitches and pinpoint accuracy. The defense was very solid.”
The offense was pretty solid too as the All-Stars got a balanced attack from its potent lineup. Dority went 1-3 with with an RBI, Kendall Alligood was 2-4, Lang went 1-3 with a double and two RBIs, Hardison was 1-3 with a double and an RBI, Kaylee Jackson finished 1-3 with an RBI, Haley Hutchins went 2-3 with a double and drove in three runs and Allison Brantley drove in a run.
Hutchins would wrap up the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record as she allowed a mere four runs in 21 1/3 innings in Varina.
After the three-run first, Washington cemented the game with a five-run fourth. Ocala put a scare into the All-Stars in the sixth when it rallied for three runs, but it would not get any closer.
Washington 18U All-Stars fall in title game
The Washington 18U All-Stars dropped a last-inning heartbreaker to Roanoke Valley 4-3 in Sunday’s championship game. Pitcher Macy Paramore took the tough luck loss despite yielding only seven hits as Washington could not hold on to a 3-2 final-inning lead. Washington’s balanced offensive attack banged out 10 hits in the loss. (Morgan Bryant 1-4, Amanda Daw 2-4 (2B, RBI), Tia Hardy 2-4 (2B), Sandra Sparks 1-4 (3B) RBI, Shakeria Lomax 1-3 RBI, Valerie Hodges 1-3, Kristen Ayers 1-2, Marlin Edwards 1-3 (2B))
All-Stars coach Jonathan Baker commended the team and was upbeat about next year’s chances saying, “We had a very young team that left it all on the field. We lose Amanda (Daw) and Kristen (Ayers) but bring everybody back for another title run next year.”
Defense kept the game close for Washington when center fielder Morgan Bryant launched a long missile-heave to catcher Valerie Hodges to cut down a runner at the plate to end the fourth and keep it a one run ball game.
“Valerie blocked a college player off the plate on Morgan’s throw to give us momentum,” Baker said.
Washington tied it in the fifth and took the lead in the sixth but could not hang on. (Contributed report)