As the fog lifted over Mid-America Sports Complex this morning, the humidity took its place. But as shown throughout this week, nothing will stop the young women of the 16U division at the USA Elite Select World Fastpitch Championships from giving their all out on the field.
Yesterday’s rainout created a setback for some teams, but simply a hurdle for others. Bracket play started with a bang this morning, as several games came down the very last half of the last inning.
In the American bracket, a showdown between the Tulsa Elite and Mizuno Storm resulted in a 6-5 last-inning win for the Storm. The Elite held a steady 4-3 lead for three innings, with solid pitching from Shelby Smith, even adding an insurance run in the fifth. However, the Storm rallied in the sixth to put three runs on the board and finish the game on top.
Across the sidewalk, another battle was heating up. The Texas Elite Glory and the Sting had held each other at 2-1, with the Texas Elite leading. The bottom of the sixth rolled around and brought the Sting up to bat. After aggressive at-bats, the Sting loaded the bases with one out. The Texas Elite put up another out as a force tag was made at home. Finally, a groundout thrown to first earned the final out as the Texas Elite found themselves victoriously free of the bases-loaded jam and a chance to continue their quest for the championship.
In the National bracket, the Originals-Earl proved their bat strength in a 6-1 win over the Gametime Stars. Pitcher Chloe Neece held the Stars to almost no runs. Offensively, several triples and doubles were hit by Cassidy Beam, Kylee Bohle and Katherine Kadlec. Aggressive base-running helped the Originals stack the scoreboard, as several overthrows allowed baserunners to advance into scoring position.
Later in the afternoon, the National bracket saw a nail-biting battle between the Oklahoma Diamond Girls and the NWA Knockouts. It was a seemingly endless battle of tight defense and consistent pitching from Meredith Iden of the Diamond Girls and Abby Walker and Sadie Beeman of the Knockouts. The game was sent into extra innings after being tied 1-1. The Knockouts produced a run in the eighth, but the Diamond Girls answered with one of their own. Neither team was letting up nor did it appear that the extras would ever end. Iden pitched an efficient top of the ninth inning, and the Diamond Girls took the game, 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth.
Despite some losses, there is still an opportunity for teams to battle back through the backside of the bracket to have a shot at moving on to the championship game. Teams to watch here include Originals-CK, Texas Glory RWB and USSSA Georgia Pride in the National bracket and Select Fastpitch, California Grapettes, Texas Glory Naudin and Mizuno Storm in the American bracket.
In the top part of the bracket, tomorrow will see showdowns in the American bracket of Impact Gold versus Marucci Patriots and KC Gold versus Midwest Speed. In the National bracket, the OC Batbusters will take on the Oklahoma Diamond Girls while Worth Elite Prospects takes on Lady Lightning.
Play tomorrow will start at 8 a.m. with the backside games.