Making waves in pool play

Published 10:17 pm Thursday, July 19, 2012

Washington 12U All-Star Blake Swanner (left) scores on a Rachel Lang hit in the first inning of their 11-0 win over Down East on Thursday. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

WINTERVILLE — The Washington All-Stars made waves in pool play as the 12U, 10U and 8U teams combined to go 9-2 in the first two days of the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional tournament in Winterville.
On Thursday, the 12Us were flawless as they went 2-0 and did not allow a run as they topped Brewton (Ala.) 12-0 in four innings before downing Down East 11-0 in four frames to complete pool play with a 4-0 record.
The 10Us maintained a perfect record in pool play as well as the All-Stars topped Santa Fe (Fla.) 13-4 and went on to thump Stafford (Va.) 16-0 to head into bracket play with a 4-0 record.
The 8U All-Stars were not as fortunate as their fellow All-Stars as they did not make it out of pool play after falling to Shenandoah (Va.) 19-1 to finish the tourney with a 1-2 record.
Heading into the regional Washington 10U coach Dallis tucker knew it would take three wins to escape pool play and his team needed only three games to do it as the All-Stars blew by Santa Fe Thursday morning.
“We’re definitely in bracket play. It’s a great feeling of relief,” Tucker said after the game. “We’ve won three games against some of the top teams in the Southeast and it makes you doggone proud as a manager. We have a group of scrappy girls, they’re amazing.”
Pitchers Summer Campbell, Lily Wright and Abbigail Tucker teamed up to get the win and after Tucker praised the effort of catcher Emme Davis.
“Our catcher made all the pitching stick together, she’s a brick wall back there for me,” Tucker said. “With her I have a lot of security. If the pitching gets shaky she holds that group together. With her effort I feel like we always have a good chance at winning.”
The All-Stars produced 13 runs on 10 hits as Campbell went 2-3 and Tucker, Desirre Mourizzio, Davis, Sydney Keech, Macy Main, Treasure Biggs, Kaylee Elks and Wright had a hit apiece.
In the second game of the day the All-Stars lineup continued to produce against Stafford as Campbell, Tucker, Wright and Elks each had three hits while Mourizzio, Biggs and Davis added two and Elizabeth Heath and Sydney Keech had one.
Tucker said the team’s perfect pool play record was a direct result of a total team effort.
“It means that all of our girls contributed, all of our girls hit well and everybody played fundamentally sound softball,” Tucker said. “I’m more proud of that than our record.”
After pulling out a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Davidson on Wednesday night the 12U’s momentum carried over into Thursday’s showdown with previously undefeated Down East as the All-Stars were able to lockup the coveted No. 1 seed in the North Division of their pool and earn a Friday morning bye.
“Well, for one thing it gives us a little bit of a break because we only have one game (Friday),” said coach Seth Edwards. “Win or lose tomorrow we still only play one game and I think our girls need a little bit of rest.
“If we can come out (today) and get a win than that puts us in the winner’s bracket Saturday morning.”
Aside from being able to give the team a morning to rest, the bye enables Edwards to cut back on the amount of innings his pitchers have to throw.
“Good pitching beats good hitting every day and our pitching has been pretty good,” Edwards said. “By saving our pitching (with the bye) and by playing these short games it’s really beneficial.”
The 12Us jumped all over Down East early as Rachel Lang, Chaleigh Bayner, Sydney Edwards and Bekah Williams each had RBI singles to give the All-Stars a 4-0 lead after the first inning. The All-Stars would add three more runs in the second and four in the third to seal the deal.
Edwards said getting off to a fast start has been critical to the team’s success.
“So far if we’ve had a good first inning we’ve been very successful,” Edwards said. “It really puts us in a good position and gives us a good attitude and gets us excited and I think tonight we came out and were really sharp.”
With a lead in hand, Lang quieted the Down East lineup for three innings, while Williams did the same in the final frame. Overall, the All-Stars allowed one hit in four innings.
Lang also came up big in the batter’s box as she went 3-3 with a triple, while Hailey Harris, Meghan Moore, Mary Dixon and Sydney Keech each had one hit.
The 8Us played well into the night on Wednesday and captured a 13-3 victory over Andalusia (Ala.) to record their first victory of the tournament.
Jordan Smallwood and Leah Spencer led the attack as they each went 3-3, while Mary Morgan Beeman and Mary Emma Holscher each went 2-3.
Unfortunately, the All-Stars hot hitting did not carry over in Friday’s game against Shenandoah, as they were only able to produce one run.
While the 8Us did not advance past pool play, coach E.J. Pazht said their effort this summer has been top notch.
“The girls played well and played hard in the district, played well in the state and got a local invite (to the Southeast Regional) and we came here and practiced hard and hit the ball well,” Pazht said. “We got some bad breaks defensively and we ran into some tough teams. We have made some improvements while we were here and we will continue to improve.”