The Valley Force 01 softball team played at The Notre Dame College Showcase Tournament in South Euclid over the weekend. And for the second straight weekend, these Valley Girls played some outstanding softball. After a 3-0 start in Friday and Saturday’s pool play games the girls needed to win four bracket play games on Sunday to win their second straight tournament of the summer season. They about accomplished that feat by winning the three they needed to make the Championship game against a good Cobras 00 team but came up just short as the Cobras were able to hit a walk-off RBI ground roll double to send these Valley girls home just short of their goal with a 1-0 loss. The game was filled with outstanding pitching and great defensive plays by both teams. Courtney Beckley got the call in the circle for the Valley Girls. With the help of her defense, she limited the Cobras to 4 hits (2 of those in the 7th), a batting average of .174 and the only run of the game that ended the tournament. Battling the hottest weekend of the summer so far these girls left every ounce of energy they had on the field. Even though their bats fizzled out and couldn’t string together quality hits they kept their heads in the game and battled to the end.
The Valley Girls took care of business during pool play as they outscored their opponents by a score of 25-1 and a 3-0 record to lock up the #1 seed out of their pool. Drawing a #4 seed in the first bracket game these ladies cruised to an 11-0 win. In round 2 they drew the #2 seed, Central New York Easton 16u Blue. CNY came out swinging and the Valley Girls uncharacteristically committed 5 errors as CNY jumped out to a 4-0 lead. In the bottom of the first Zoe Johnson was able to cut the deficit to 3-1 with a solo home run out to left field. The Valley defense was able to settle down and committed zero errors and stopped CNY from touching all four bases the rest of the way. The third inning was a big one for the Valley offense as they were able to score 3 runs to tie the game at 4. The inning started out with a ground out before Abby Warther blasted a hard hit line drive for a single to right field. Alexis Renner was able to draw a walk at the next at bat. Following the Renner walk, Amber Peltz hit a soft ground ball between third and short confusing the defense and loading the bases. Annette Weston came in and hit a deep fly ball to center field to score Warther on a tag up from third and advance Renner and Peltz on the throw home. With 2 outs now, Jenna Stout came to the plate and delivered with a clutch hard hit grounder up the gut that made it through the infield and out to center field to score both Renner and Peltz. Stout advanced to second on the throw home going after Peltz. The Valley Girls ended the inning with a ground out and a tie ball game. The score would remain 4-4 until the bottom of the 5th inning when lefty power hitter Renner stepped back to the plate with time expired. She took advantage of a meatball thrown by CNY and hit an extremely hard fly ball over the right fielder’s head for a no doubt walk-off solo home run to send herself and her teammates into the semi-final game. The girls won the semi’s 9-1 but suffered a setback as Johnson twisted her knee on a play in shallow left center and Peltz started to not feel so well. The team made some adjustments on defense and brought Johnson out of the game. Peltz toughed out the game as the team’s designated hitter. Both girls were able to play through the pain and illness to participate in the Championship.
The Valley Girls ended the weekend with a 6-1 record, 11-1 on the summer and 20-3 dating back to their October tournaments. As a team the Valley Girls had 50 runs on 58 hits. 42 of those were singles, 6 doubles, 4 triples and 6 home runs, 45 total RBI’s and a team batting average of .374.. This weekend the Valley Offense was led by Alexis Renner who had a .643 batting average, 9 total hits with 4 singles, a double, a triple and 3 home runs including the walk-off solo in round two of bracket play. She also led the team in RBI’s with 11. Jenna Stout and Zoe Johnson each had 8 hits a piece. Stout ended with 7 singles, a home run and 8 RBI’s which was second on the team. Johnson added 4 singles, 2 doubles, a triple and a home run. She also added 4 RBI’s. Both Annette Weston and Abby Warther had 7 hits. Weston had 4 singles, a double, a triple, a home run and 4 RBI’s while Warther ended with 6 singles, a double and 5 RBI’s. Courtney Beckley had 6 hits with 6 singles and 3 RBI’s. The trio of Kallie Regula, Madison Kopp and Brooke Foust all had 3 hits each. Regula had 2 singles, a triple and 3 RBI’s, Kopp had 3 singles and 2 RBI’s while Foust added 3 singles with an RBI. Amber Peltz added 2 singles and an RBI while Halli Blanchard and Mackenzie Kendrick each had a hit. Blanchards was a single and had 2 RBI’s. Kendrick had a double and 3 RBI’s.
The pitching staff had another great weekend spinning the ball. This week with the help of their defense, had a combined ERA of 0.65 with an opponent batting average of .207 surrendering just 25 hits while dealing out 34 total strikeouts. Of the 25 hits, 21 were singles and only 4 extra base hits all weekend. Those were all doubles. The girls allowed 7 runs with just 3 of them being earned. Beckley got 19.33 innings in the circle tossing 185 strikes to 70 balls and an ERA of just 0.72. Kendrick, dealing with a sore arm gave the team 11 solid innings in the circle. She threw 119 strikes to 54 balls with a ERA of 0.64. Jenna Stout was able to give the team a couple of innings in the circle in relief to save some arms. Beckley also had 18 strikeouts, Kendrick had 13 and Stout ended with 3 strikeouts. Defensively the team had another solid performance with a .957 fielding percentage and committed just 6 errors in 7 games. 5 of those came against CNY in round 2 of bracket play.
These girls had another great weekend of softball. Next weekend they take off for Akron Firestone Stadium as the team will compete in a 16 team field tournament at the Slam Series 16u. The team will get back to work at practice on Wed as they prepare for another long hot weekend on the dirt.
Roll Valley Roll