The Valley Girls have gotten off to a hot start this summer as they came into the Slam Series II Tournament supporting an 11-1 record and reaching the Championship game in each of the first two tournaments of the summer. Going 1-1 in those two and after last weekend’s heartbreaking one run loss to the Cobras 00, the girls wanted to make a push for another chance. However this weekend seemed as though it would be more challenging as the team came in battling a couple of players being a little banged up. Zoe Johnson, the team’s short stop suffered a level 1 mcl sprain in last weekend’s semi-final game and was battling through the soreness and Mackenzie Kendrick, one of the team’s two ace pitcher’s is fighting a sore shoulder. Amber Peltz sprained her ankle towards the end of Friday nights pool game and toughed it out as the team’s DH for Saturday and Sunday.
The girls played their first pool play game Friday night under the lights on the Pony Field at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio. The match-up was against the Devils Fastpitch team that the girls battled to a 3-1 win in last summer’s only game against them. The game started as expected with a 0-0 ball game through the first two innings. The Devils got their first baserunner on of the night in the top of the third and they were able to move her around the bags to take a 1-0 lead. The Devil’s looked like they were about to blow the game wide open in the top of the 4th when they loaded the bases with two outs before Valley was able to get out of the inning without surrendering a run. The Valley Girls tied the game in the bottom of the fourth at 1. In the top of the 5th the Devil’s added three runs to take a 4-1 lead with time expired and Valley’s last chance at bat coming up. One thing about this Valley team is they never give up, never give in and fight until the end. And fight is what they did as they were able to score two runs and load the bases with two outs. It was starting to look like another come from behind victory before the Devil’s pitcher was able to end the game with a strikeout and handed the Valley Girl’s their 2nd straight loss and an 0-1 record after the first pool play game. The team responded on day two…
Day two of pool play started at 1:00 PM, in the brutally hot afternoon against the Diamond Elite 16u team. Diamond’s jumped out to a 1 run lead in the top of the first but that ended up being the only run allowed by the Valley Girls. The score would remain 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth when Valley was able to score two runs to take a 2-1 lead to the 5th. In Valley’s last at bat they added three more runs for a 5-1 win and a 1-1 record in through two games. In game 3 the girls faced off against the PA Lady Knights. The Valley girls scored first by getting two runs in the 2nd and added one more in the 3rd to take a 3-0 lead into the fourth inning. The Lady Knights scored their only run of the game in the 4th as Valley held on for a 3-1 victory and a 2-1 pool play record landing them the number 2 seed out their pool.
Round one of bracket play started early for the Valley Girls. Drawing the 8 AM game vs the Fury 01 team the girls showed up ready to go. The first 3 innings were battled to a 0-0 tie. Valley struck first scoring two runs in both the 4th and 5th innings to take a 4-0 lead. Fury was able to load the bases twice, but both times Valley escaped without giving up a run and held on for a 4-0 win to move onto round two vs a good Sapphires 00 team. Valley scored first by adding a run in the top of the second inning before the Sapphires scored two in the bottom to take a 2-1 advantage over the Valley Girls. That ended up being the only runs given up by Valley as they added two more in the fifth and 1 in the 6th for a 4-2 win to set the stage for a rematch of last weekend’s Championship game vs the Cobras 00 in the semi-finals. The girls were fired up and wanted to avenge last weekend’s loss. Even though the game was tied at zero through the first 2-½ innings it felt as though the Valley Girls were in control. Hitting the ball hard from the first inning they were bound to find some gaps, and that they did. The Valley Girls were able to load the bases in the 3rd inning of play. Annette Weston came in and drilled a hard line drive to right center field, clearing the bases and landing her on third. Jenna Stout then came in and roped a single over the Cobras short stops head and into left field to score Weston from third and a 4-0 lead. The girls added two more in the 4th and held on for a 6-2 win and another chance to battle for a Championship.
The Championship Game was against a Fury 02 team that could really hit the ball around the park. The Fury 02’s were playing up a class as they are a second year 14u team and the Valley Girls are a first year 16u registered as a 15u team. Both of these teams were two of the three youngest teams entered in the tournament and both fought hard to make the ship. This game included a rain delay and balls flying all over the place as the two teams combined for 22 hits and 19 runs. Fury ended the game with ten hits and seven runs scored. The Valley Girls were able to out-slug the Fury Girls by getting 12 hits of their own and scoring 12 runs while blasting two home runs. One each by Abby Warther and Annette Weston. This was the team’s 2nd Championship victory of the summer.
For the weekend the girls scored 37 runs on 52 hits and had a team batting average of .347. 35 of the 37 runs scored were RBI’s. The girls ended the tournament with 36 singles, nine doubles, four triples, three home runs and drew 12 walks. Leading the team in batting average this week was Jenna Stout with a .467 average with seven singles and four RBI. She also led the team with four sacrifice plays and had three runs scored. Johnson led the team with eight hits and had a .381 average. She had two singles, four doubles, two triples, a team leading seven RBI and three runs scored. Alexis Renner and Abby Warther also contributed seven hits each. Renner had five singles, a double, a home run, four RBI, six runs and a .412 batting average. Warther added four singles, a double, a triple, a home run with four RBI and 5 runs scored. Amber Peltz had five hits and a .417 average while hitting four singles and hustling out a double with an RBI and four runs scored. Annette Weston also contributed five hits. She had two singles, a double, a triple, a home run with six RBI and a team leading seven runs scored. Madison Kopp and Courtney Beckley each added four hits. Kopp had three singles, a double, an RBI and two runs while Beckley had four singles, four RBI and scored three times. Halli Blanchard and Kallie Regula both had two hits, two singles and an RBI. Regula also scored three runs. Kendrick also added a single and two RBI.
Both pitchers, Courtney Beckley and Mackenzie Kendrick got credited with three wins apiece. Beckley got hit for Friday night’s loss but also added two saves over the weekend. Beckley spun the ball for 26-⅔ innings of work. She faced 111 batters, threw 255 strikes, a 140 balls for a total of 395 pitches. Beckley ended with a 3.15 era, 25 hits, 17 strikeouts and nine batters walked and one of her saves in the Championship game. Kendrick was able to battle for 12 innings in the circle facing 56 batters, throwing 119 strikes to 81 balls for a total of 200 pitches. Her era was 1.17, gave up seven hits, had nine strikeouts and walked eight batters. The Valley Defense was solid again as they posted a .952 fielding percentage for the weekend.
The girls are now supporting a 17-2 record this summer and 26-4 in their last 30 games. This coming weekend the Valley Girls will be heading back to Akron to battle for the USSSA Northern State Championship. The girls won last years USSSA Northern State Tournament and will be trying to repeat as a 15u team in the 16u division. Good Luck to the Valley Girls as they continue their weekend warrior ways!
Roll Valley Roll!