Valley Force 01 finishes in the top 32 at the North American All-Sanctioned World Series

For the second time this summer mother nature had an impact on the weekend schedule at the North American All-Sanctioned World Series in Columbus, Ohio. With all the rain between Wednesday and late into the night on Thursday, both Friday and Saturday pool play schedules changed. It appeared that the schedule change was a favorable one for the Valley Girls as their first pool play game on Friday was moved from 8:30 AM to 11 AM and would end up being their only game of the day. The second pool play game got moved to Saturday giving Valley three games on Saturday to finish up pool play.

The Valley Girls had Buckeye Heat 01 in their first pool play game. The team was 3-0 vs this Heat since the fall of 2015. But that didn’t stop Buckeye Heat from playing with confidence. The Heat jump in front of Valley 2-0 in the top of the first and would keep Valley on their heals the entire game. The final score ended up 8-1 with Valley uncharacteristically committing four errors and starting pool play with an 0-1 record.

Game two of pool play was against the Michigan Elite. Valley would have two rough innings that ended up being the difference in the game. Elite scored a run in each of the first two innings to snag a 2-0 lead. In the top of the third Valley would get a run back to cut the lead in half at 2-1 before the wheels would fall off. Valley Force would commit four errors between the third and fourth innings and giving up ten runs to give Michigan Elite a 9-1 advantage. The Valley Girls settled down on defense and started finding some gaps as they tried to mount a comeback. But the impact of the third and fourth innings was too much to overcome as the final score ended at 13-6.

Committing eight errors through the first two games the Valley Girls knew they needed to pick up play on the defensive side. And that’s just what they did. The girls committed just two errors over the next four games and finished with a 3-1 record to push themselves into the top 32 teams out of 128 in the 16u division.

 

 

Game three of pool play was an exciting game with great plays being made by both defenses. PC Inferno won the coin flip and elected to be the home team. Valley started off the game hitting the ball hard but the Inferno defense was making spectacular diving catches all over the outfield. The Inferno center fielder also robbed two home runs.

This game was played to a 0-0 tie through five innings of play. All the balls in play that were getting caught earlier were now finding the gaps and producing runs. Valley scored four runs in the sixth inning and five in the seventh inning for a 9-0 win and a 1-2 pool play record. The sixth inning got started with a pop out and a walk drawn by Kallie Regula. Abby Warther, Alexis Renner and Amber Peltz all had back to back to back singles. Regula scored on Renners single and Warther scored on Peltz’s single. Annette Weston who was robbed of a home run earlier in the game, hit another deep fly ball to center field that was tracked down for out number two. Jenna stout would come in and hit a two RBI double scoring both Renner and Peltz giving Valley a 4-0 lead.

Valley kept the pressure on in the top of the seventh inning as Mackenzie Kendrick and Zoe Johnson started the inning with back to back singles. Rugula laid down a beautiful bunt to move both base runners as she is able to reach first safely. Warther hits a deep fly ball that is caught by the centerfielder but all three base runners tagged and moved ahead a base on the play. Kendrick scored on the tag up at third. Renner gets hit by a pitch to load the bases back up followed by a Peltz line drive for a single scoring both Johnson from third and Regula from second for the third run of the inning. Now with runners on second and third, Weston hit a ground out but scored Renner and advanced Peltz to third. Stout delivers a two out RBI single scoring Peltz from third.. Valley ended the game giving up just two hits and won with a 9-0 shutout.

With one game left in pool play the Valley Girls needed a win and needed to give up fewer than three runs to secure their spot in the Platinum Bracket. The Platinum Bracket is made up of the top three seeds from each pool creating a field of 64 teams.

Game four of pool play was against the PA Havoc. The Valley girls were in control of this game from the opening pitch. They scored 17 runs on 17 hits, gave up two hits and just one run ending the game in the fourth inning with a mercy. Valley scored two runs in the first, four in the third and exploded for 11 in the fourth securing their spot in the Platinum Bracket.

With the 2-2 pool play record and number three seed from their pool the Valley Girls would have a tough road into the sweet sixteen as they drew a number one seed in round one and potentially another number one seed in round two with a victory.

 

 

Round one of bracket play was against Team Ohio who was coming off of a Platinum Bracket Championship at the Kings Island College Shootout. Valley won the coin flip and elected to be the home team. Courtney Beckley got the start in the circle and took just seven pitches to get through the first three batters of the game by creating a ground-out to second baseman Stout, a fly out to Regula in right field and a line drive right back to the circle.

Lead-off hitter Zoe Johnson started the game by taking the fourth pitch of the game yard over the left center field fence to give Valley a 1-0 lead. Team Ohio got a runner to second base in the top of the second inning with two outs before Beckley landed a strikeout to end the inning. After six straight outs between the bottom of the second and top of the third the Valley Girls threatened in the bottom half of the third inning. Madison Kopp led the inning off by drawing a walk followed by a sacrifice bunt by Beckley to advance Kopp to second base. Mackenzie Kendrick hits a double into shallow left center field as the Team Ohio defense held Kopp at third with a throw into the dirt. Team Ohio ended the inning holding Valley in check with a strikeout and an unassisted ground out to first base.

Beckley started the fourth inning with a lead-off strikeout but Team Ohio threatened by getting runners to second and third with two outs. Team Ohio’s number four power hitter got a hold of a ball and sent it deep into the left center field gap. Annette Weston put it in high gear and chased the ball down to make a running backhand catch just a few feet from the fence to protect the 1-0 Valley lead.

Following a leadoff pop out to start the bottom half of the fourth, Renner was able to draw a walk. Peltz then attempted a sac bunt that landed her on base safely and advanced Renner to second on an error by the first baseman. Weston drove a fly ball to deep right field for a sacrifice fly to advance Renner from second to third. With two outs now, Stout steps to the plate and hits a hard ground ball between third and shortstop for an RBI single scoring Renner and giving the Valley Girls a 2-0 lead through four innings of play.

Again in the fifth inning Team Ohio was able to move a base runner into scoring position at second base. This time with one out but the Valley defense retired the next two batters. Valley sent three girls to the plate in the bottom half of the fifth but the tough Team Ohio defense was on point by getting outs on all three balls in play.

The sixth inning started off looking promising for the girls of Team Ohio as they were able to lead off the inning with single. The next batter hit a hard ground ball to Johnson at shortstop who flipped the ball to a charging Stout at second who kicked the bag and threw an on point ball to the stretching Renner at first for the 6-4-3 double play. Valley ended the top of the sixth with an easy pop out to Renner at first. Regula led off the bottom with a double and later scored on a single by Renner for the third and final run of the game for Valley. Valley held on for a big 3-0 shutout win and moved the girls into the final 32 teams.

In the second round the Valley Girls were facing off against another number one seed and another top team in the state in the Ohio Hawks Gold. The Hawks went through pool play by allowing just seven hits and one run in their four games. The Valley Girls faced the Hawks last summer at Fire In The Sky and suffered a 13-1 mercy loss to knock them out of bracket play. The Valley Girls wanted payback and wanted to have a much better showing this time around.

Again Valley won the coin toss to snag the home half of the inning. Knowing the Hawks are a great hitting team, Kendrick wanted to put a lot of spin on the ball trying to produce pop ups and grounders in the infield. The game started with three of the first four batters popping out. Two to Kopp in left field and one to Johnson at shortstop. Valley drew first blood in the bottom of the first when Regula went yard on a solo home run to give Valley a 1-0 lead. That would end up being Valley’s only run of the game.

The Hawks tied the game in the second at one and took the lead in the fifth by getting two runs in to take a 3-1 lead. Now in the bottom of the sixth and time expired, Valley threatened the Hawks two run lead by getting runners to second and third. Following back to back deep fly outs to left and center field, Warther drew a walk and lefty Renner took an outside pitch down the left field line for a double. With Valley trying to rally on two outs, the hot stick of Peltz was coming to the plate. Peltz was able to hit a hard line drive towards the right center field gap but unfortunately the Hawks second baseman was able to reach up to make the catch and end Valleys chance at a sweet sixteen appearance. The Hawks went on to make the final four and lost to the tournament champion Diamond Chix.

After a rough start to the weekend, Valley was able to rebound and played some pretty outstanding softball in their last four games and competed at a high level against two of the top teams in the state.

The Valley offense scored 37 runs on 51 hits with 32 singles, 13 doubles, one triple and five home runs. The offense also had 35 RBI with a .345 batting average and an on base percentage of .389. Leading the way for Valley was Alexis Renner who scored five runs and produced eight hits, five singles, three doubles, six RBI and had a batting average of .571. Renner also drew a team leading four walks. Zoe Johnson had 7 hits, five singles, a double, a home run, five runs scored and two RBI. Johnson finished the weekend with a .389 batting average.

Mackenzie Kendrick, Kallie Regula and Jenna Stout all had six hits on the weekend. Kendrick had five singles, a double, four runs scored and a .429 batting average. Regula had two singles, two doubles, two home runs, seven runs scored and six RBI. She also finished with a .400 batting average. Stout contributed three singles, two doubles, a triple, scored two runs with six RBI and a batting average of .400.

Abby Warther produced five hits. She had three singles, two doubles, three runs scored and had three RBI. Madison Kopp ended with four hits, three singles, a home run, two runs scored and had four RBI.

Courtney Beckley, Amber Peltz and Annette Weston each had three hits. Beckley had two singles, a double, a run scored and an RBI. Peltz ended with three singles, five runs scored and three RBI. Weston contributed a single, a double, a homerun with three runs scored and four RBI. She was also robbed of two home runs during pool play.

The pitching staff of Beckley and Kendrick combined for 33 ⅔ innings in the circle. They threw a total of 459 pitches, 321 strikes to 138 balls. There were 25 runs scored but only 12 of them earned for a 2.50 era and an opponent batting average of .261. They also had 19 strikeouts to just nine batters walked. Beckley got 18 ⅔ innings in the circle facing 79 batters and throwing 175 strikes to 77 balls. She had an era of 1.12, 13 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of .257. Kendrick was in the circle for 15 innings, faced 68 batters, threw 146 strikes and only 61 balls. She also had six strikeouts, opponent batting average of .267 and threw a first pitch strike 78% of the time.

The defense started the tournament a little off their game by committing eight of their ten errors in the first two pool play games. Eight of those ten errors were throwing. They did however pick up their play on defense and ended the tournament with just two errors over their last four games and finished with a .933 fielding percentage.

This coming weekend the Valley Girls will play in their last tournament of the summer as the team travels to Pickerington, Ohio to compete in the USA/ASA Grand Finale Tournament. There will be a total of 16 teams fighting to bring home one of the last Championships of the summer.

 

 

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Valley Force 01 drops Semi-final game to the Great Lakes Sharks 00 5-4 to finish third at Loudonville

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(Back Row L/R:  Jenna Stout – Stow Monroe Falls, Alexix Renner – Dover, Amber Peltz – TCC, Abby Warther – Dover, Kallie Regula – Garaway, Zoe Johnson – Garaway, Halli Blanchard – TCC ~ Front Row L/R: Courtney Beckley – Indian Valley, Annette Weston – Dover, Madison Kopp – Dover, Trinity Thompson – Dover ~ Not Pictured: Mackenzie Kendrick – East Canton)

Coming off a bye week last weekend the Valley Girls were ready to go and it showed in game one of pool play. The first game of the weekend was against Northwest 16u Select. Valley got out to a good start in the top of the first inning as Zoe Johnson led the game off with a walk followed by a home run to dead center field by Kallie Regula to give the Valley Girls an early 2-0 lead. After a pop out, Alexis Renner hit a single and Amber peltz drew a walk to put runners on first and second. With back to back balls in play the Northwest defense was able to get both runners out advancing to third on fielder’s choice plays. Northwest cut the lead in half by scoring a run in the bottom of the first.

Annette Weston got the team started in the fourth inning with a hard hit line drive for a single. Jenna Stout followed that up with bunt that ended in Valley’s favor as she was able to reach first safely while Weston advanced to second. A line drive hit right back at the pitcher was caught for out number one.

Weston and Stout both advance a bag on a ground out to the second baseman. With two outs and runners on second and third the Valley Girls struck. Halli Blanchard hit a single into the left center field gap to score both Weston and Stout. Trinity Thompson and Johnson both drew walks to load the bases. Regula followed up her first inning home run with a base clearing triple to right center field to give the Valley Girls 7-1 lead and five runs scored with two outs.

In the fifth inning Valley kept the offense rolling with back to back doubles by Renner and Amber Peltz.  Renner scored on the Peltz double.  Weston put runners in the corners with another single and then stole second base on the next pitch. With two runners in scoring position Stout hit a deep fly ball to center field that advanced both Peltz and Weston and another run scored. Courtney Beckley drew a walk to again put runners in the corners. The inning ended on a double play but three more runs scored to push the score to 10-1 and a Valley win.

Valley Force 01 would finish off pool play with a pair of one run victories over the Willoughby Stars and Ohio Storm 16u. In the second pool play game the Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. After being held scoreless in the first inning, Valley was able to put a three spot on the board in the bottom of the second inning to take a 3-2 advantage. The Valley Girls loaded the bases without getting a single hit. Renner got hit by a pitch that was followed by back to back drawn walks by Peltz and Weston. Courtney Beckley produced a single to score both Peltz and Weston leaving runners on first and second. Kopp was able to advance both base runners with a ground out back to the pitcher. Blanchard then drew another walk to load the bases. A Thompson ball in play drew a play at the plate for a force out on Weston. Beckley was able to then scored on a passed ball for the team’s third run of the inning. The Stars got two runs back in the sixth inning to cut the score to 6-5 but the Valley defense stopped the rally and hung on for the win and a 2-0 record in pool play.

The third pool game versus the Ohio Storm was an intense game that started off looking like it was going to be a run fest but finished with great pitching and great defense by both teams. Valley came out in the top of the first inning and scored four runs. Storm followed that up with three of their own in the bottom half.

Johnson led the game off with a hard line drive single to set the tone. Regula came in and laid down a beautiful sac bunt that advanced Johnson all the way to third after a brief rundown. Warther gets a single that scores Johnson and is followed by another single by Renner to put runners at first and second. The Storm defense was able to get a tag out on Warther when she attempted to advance to third on a passed ball as Renner advanced to second on the play at third. After a Peltz walk, Weston hit a line drive to the left center field gap that scores Renner from second and advances Petlz up a base to second. Beckley steps to the plate and gets on base with a single to load the bases now with two outs. With the pressure on early in the game the Valley Girls on base all advanced on a passed ball that brought Peltz across the plate for a 3-0 lead. With the momentum on Valley’s side, Kopp comes in a drills a single that scores Weston for the fourth run of the inning. The offensive half inning ended on a strikeout and an early 4-0 advantage.

But the Ohio Storm, stormed right back and brought the game within a run at 4-3 in the bottom of the first as their bats started hot and found the gaps in the defense. That hot start ended up being the only runs scored in the game as both pitchers and defenses played flawless ball the rest of the way. The Valley Girls ended with a 4-3 win, 3-0 pool play record and number one seed from their pool. It had the makings of another Championship run during Sunday bracket play.

By getting the number one seed from their pool, Valley was able to sleep in a little longer on Sunday morning with their first bracket game not starting until 12:30. The girls came out and took care of business earning a 14-1 four inning mercy win over the USSSA Pride Lady Diamonds.

In the quarter-final game the Valley Girls faced off against the Ohio Slam Force. The Slam Force, who had been playing good softball all weekend came into the game with the number two seed from their pool and jumped out to a 1-0 lead through two innings of play. Valley however, took control in the third inning scoring three runs and they were able to keep the pressure on.

Stout got the third inning started with a single. Kopp was able to lay down a bunt to advance Stout to second as she reached first on an error by the Slam Force second baseman. Beckley followed the Kopp bunt attempt with a sac bunt of her own. Beckley was able advance both Stout and Kopp on the play. Johnson stepped to the plate and delivered with a single that scored both runners and she advanced to second on the throw home. With Johnson now in scoring position, Regula rips another single that scores Johnson from second base. The inning would end with back to back pop outs to the Slam Force third baseman and a 3-1 Valley lead.

Slam Force would threaten in the fourth by getting runners to second and third but Valley was able to hold them in check there. Peltz started the bottom of the fourth with another double followed by a Weston single and stolen base to put runners on second and third. Peltz scored from third on an RBI ground out by Stout to stretch the lead to 4-1.

Slam Force loaded the bases in the fifth inning with one out and looked as though a comeback was on it’s way. But the Valley defense responded again by getting out of the inning only giving up one run. Valley got that run back in the bottom of the fifth and was able to hold on for a 5-2 win and a birth in the Semi-Final game for the fifth straight tournament this summer.

The Semi-Final game was against the Great Lakes Sharks from the Toledo area. They were crushing teams all weekend with the closest game being six runs. The Valley Girls did not let that intimidate them as they fought all game and left everything they had on the field. The game ended up being a very intense and emotional game.

The game started with neither team being able to score through the first two innings. In the third inning, Thompson was able to lay down a beautiful drag bunt to reach first safely. Thompson then advances to second on a pass ball at the plate. Regula, having a great weekend at the plate is up next. She was able to rip a double into the left center field gap to score Thompson and nab a 1-0 lead.

Valley added another run in the top of the fourth for a 2-0 lead. Renner led the inning off with a double and advanced to third on a Peltz ground out to the short stop. Stout hit a hard hit ball down the third base line forcing an error by the third baseman that allowed her to reach first base and score Renner from third.

The bottom of the the fourth and fifth innings ended up making the biggest impact on the game as the Sharks scored five runs between the two innings to open up a 5-2 lead. But the fight and determination in the Valley Girls sparked a comeback that came up just short.

Warther and Renner started the inning with back to back singles putting them on the corners. Peltz comes in a hits a double scoring both Warther and Renner all the way from first. Peltz hustled down to third on the throw home. Weston reached first on a fielder’s choice play that got Peltz out at the plate. The inning ended with a fly out and a pop out as the Sharks stopped the Valley comeback and held on for a 5-4 win. The Sharks went onto win the Championship game over the Ohio Storm 10-2. The girls played some great ball and fought hard all weekend ending with a 5-1 record and a third place finish.

The bats were hot this weekend as the Valley Girl’s finished with a team batting average of .394. They had 43 runs scored on 54 hits. The girls ended with 37 singles, 13 doubles, two triples, two home runs and a total of 17 extra base hits. The girls also produced 36 RBI, had nine stolen bases and an on base percentage of .455.

Leading the offensive attack was Alexis Renner with 11 hits and a .686 batting average. Renner also scored nine runs, had six singles, four doubles, a triple and six RBI. Amber Peltz also had a great weekend at the plate hitting for a .571 average on eight hits. She had two singles, six doubles, five runs scored and had six RBI. Peltz was also able to draw three walks. Kallie Regula Contributed seven hits and had a .412 average. Regula had four singles, a double, a triple, a home run with three runs scored and a team leading seven RBI.

Annette Weston finished the weekend with a .400 batting average and six hits. She had five singles, a double, five runs and three RBI. Weston also had two stolen bases. Trinity Thompson contributed four hits on eight at bats for a .500 average. All four hits were singles and she scored three runs. Thompson also drew a team leading four walks and also led the team with three stolen bases.

Madison Kopp and Zoe Johnson also finished with four hits apiece. Kopp had two singles, a double and a hustle in the park home run. She also had two runs scored and five RBI. Johnson had four singles, three drawn walks, seven runs and an RBI.

Both Courtney Beckley and Abby Warther had three hits, three singles, two RBI and a walk. Beckley had one run scored and Warther scored four times. Jenna Stout and Halli Blanchard each had two hits, two singles and two RBI. Stout also had three runs scored and Blanchard had a run.

This weekend the Valley Girls had some help from Trinity Thompson in the circle as one of the team’s pitcher’s was in Georgia with her family. Beckley and Thompson combined for 32 innings pitched, 13 earned runs for an earned run average of 2.84 and had 21 total strikeouts. Beckley got 18.67 innings in the circle, threw 211 strikes to 99 balls for a total of 310 pitches and had an era of 3.38. She also had 13 strikeouts. Thompson saw 13.33 innings in the circle. She threw a total of 146 pitches with 119 strikes to 27 balls and had an era of 2.10. As a team they gave up 17 total runs on 43 hits with 36 singles and seven doubles. They committed just six errors on the weekend and finished with a .958 team fielding percentage.

The Valley Girls have lost just five games all summer and four of those are by only one run. Great summer so far for these young ladies! The girl’s will play this coming weekend in the All-Sanctioned World Series in Columbus. First pitch is scheduled for 8:30 on Friday morning.

Strong defensive effort leads the Valley Girls to their fourth straight Championship appearance of the summer

The weekend started with the team’s schedule getting changed due to Mother Nature late Friday evening. The team’s first pool play game was to begin at 12:30 PM on Saturday but got moved to eight in the morning which meant the girls had to be up and moving way earlier than expected. Even with the schedule change the Valley Girls came in confident and ready to play some ball.  And that showed from opening pitch of pool play game one. The weekend was filled with great pitching efforts backed by outstanding defensive play.

 

 

 

Game one of pool play for Valley was against the North Coast Waves from the Sandusky area. The game started with the Valley defense sitting down the first three batter’s of the game.  Zoe Johnson got the offense started in the bottom of the first with a double followed by a Kallie Regula sacrifice bunt to move Johnson over to third. Abby Warther came up with a single to drive Johnson in for the first run of the game. After a ground out, Amber Peltz and Annette Weston each reached first on singles. Weston’s single was able to get Warther home before the inning ended with a ground out. Inning two was played to a 1-1 tie and a 3-1 Valley lead.

However, in the third inning, the Waves bats got hot and found some gaps as they were able to score four runs to take a 5-3 advantage. The score would remain the same until the bottom of the fourth when the Valley Girls were able to strike back. With one down in the inning, Courtney Beckley got things started with a double into the left center field gap. After a deep fly out, Halli Blanchard came to the plate with two outs. She was able to work the count full and drew a walk as the lineup flipped to the top of the order. Johnson, who started the game off with a double was up to bat. On a 2-2 count, Johnson took the next pitch and drilled a hard fly ball over the left field fence for a three run home run and a 6-5 Valley lead. With time now expired in the fifth, the Waves were able to threaten the one run Valley lead. With one out and runners on second and third, Johnson made a diving grab on a hard hit ground ball, checked the runner on third and gunned down the batter heading to first and kept the one run lead intact. Now with two outs, Beckley walked the next batter to load the bases. She was able to redeem herself by creating a pop out to Stout at second base to secure the 6-5 Valley win to start pool play 1-0.

With a three hour break between games one and two the Valley bats cooled down as they were only able to muster a single hit the entire game en-route to a 6-1 loss to the Ohio USSSA Pride Blue. The team was able to bounce back with a 3-1 win over the Ohio Bulldogs Elite in the third and final pool play game.

Finishing pool play with a 2-1 record the Valley Girls needed some help from the North Coast Waves to lock up the number one seed. They got the help they needed as the Waves were able to get the win against the Ohio USSSA Pride Blue and securing Valley with the top spot in their pool.

 

 

 

Valley cruised through the first round with a 13-1 win. Round two turned out be an instant classic. Drawing the Ohio USSSA Pride Silver, the game went into four international tie breaker innings. In international tie-breaker rules, the offensive team starts with a runner in scoring position on second base and nobody out.

The game was played to 0-0 tie through two innings of play. Pride Silver scored first in the third and took a 1-0 lead. Valley tied the game up in the fourth as Weston drove in Kendrick from third with a single to left center field. In the fourth, Johnson gave Valley a one run lead with a solo home run over the left field fence. Pride Silver again brought the game to a tie in the sixth and the Valley girls were were unable to get a run in the bottom half with timed expired. The seventh inning was the first international tie breaker inning. Both teams scored their runner on second. Valley then held Pride Silver scoreless the rest of way.

Halli Blanchard starting the bottom of the tenth inning on second base for the Valley girls.  Madison Kopp led off the inning and hit a single into left field to advance Blanchard to third as she hustled down to second on the throw back into the pitcher. With Johnson’s single and home run earlier in the game she drew an intentional walk this time around that loaded the bases with nobody out. Regula came up clutch and hit a hard grounder down the third base line that just barely stayed fair and into left field scoring Blanchard from third for a 4-3 win to send the team on to the semi’s. During the third and fifth inning and in the same spot in the Pride’s lineup the Valley Girls were able to stop two squeeze bunt attempts at the plate to keep themselves in the game.

The semi-final game was against the Ohio USSSA Pride Blue. The Valley Girls were pumped for rematch against the team who gave them their only loss in pool play. The girls were in attack mode the whole game as they were able to get paybacks by a score of 6-0. They scored a run in the second, two in the third and opened up the game in the fifth by adding three more to the scoreboard and securing their spot in the Championship game vs the Cobras 00.

 

 

 

The Championship game started with a bang as Johnson hit a hard fly ball to deep left center field that netted her a triple. However, after a strikeout, Johnson got too big of a lead and got picked off at third. The inning ended with a deep fly ball to center field. While holding the Cobras offense in check the Valley Girls threatened again in the third inning by loading the bases with two outs. The Cobras were able to get out of the jam with a strikeout. The next time Valley would threaten would be the sixth inning as they were able to load the bases again. This time with one out, it looked like Valley was gaining some momentum. But again, the Cobras were able to get out of the inning with no damage to the scoreboard. Jenna Stout hit a hard line drive right at the shortstop who made the catch and a quick throw to third to double up Peltz who was trying to get back to the third base bag. The Valley defense had not allowed a base-runner past second all game until the bottom of the seventh when the lead-off roped a triple deep to left field. The next batter up was able to get a shot in over the head of Stout at second and in front of the outfield to score the runner at third to get the win for the Cobras. This is the third time these two teams have met in as many weeks this season and every game has been a great battle. The Cobras hold the advantage with a 2-1 record in the series.

The Valley offense scored 33 runs on 54 hits. All 33 runs were a result of an RBI. The girls had 40 singles, ten doubles, one triple and three home runs. They had a team batting average of .310 and an on base percentage of .381. The Valley offensive attack was lead by Amber Peltz and Zoe Johnson as they combined for 21 hits, nine RBI and ten runs scored. Peltz led the team in batting average at .524. She also contributed ten total hits. Eight singles and two doubles with three RBI and three runs scored. Peltz also had an on base percentage of .550. Johnson was second in batting average at .524 and led the team in hits, doubles, triples, home runs and runs scored. She had a total of 11 hits, four singles, four doubles, one triple and two home runs for a total of seven extra base hits. She also contributed six RBI, seven runs and had an on base percentage of .583. Alexis Renner had six hits. Five singles, one double, three RBI and three runs scored. Jenna Stout, Annette Weston and Madison Kopp all had five hits each. Stout had four singles, one home run, six RBI and four runs. Weston had five singles, three RBI and three runs and Kopp added 5 singles, two RBI and a run scored. Abby Warther contributed four hits, three singles, a double, five RBI and four runs. Kallie Regula and Courtney Beckley had three hits a peice. Both had two singles, a double, two RBI and three runs scored. Halli Blanchard and Mackenzie Kendrick each added a single and a run. Blanchard also had one RBI.

 

 

 

Courtney Beckley pitched in 30 of the team’s 42 defensive innings. She faced 139 batters, threw 289 strikes, 172 balls for a total of 461 pitches. She had an ERA of 3.50, 16 total strikeouts with five of them looking and surrendered 32 hits. Beckley had three wins and was the pitcher of record in both of the team’s losses. She also had a save in the team’s semi-final game. After missing all of Saturday due to food poisoning, Mackenzie Kendrick came out Sunday and gave the team 12 strong innings. She got a win in both of her starts and a save in the game that went ten innings. She faced 46 batters, threw 101 strikes to 51 balls and only allowed one earned run for an ERA of 0.58. Kendrick also had eight strikeouts, gave up nine hits and walked only one. With the help of their defense the pitching staff had a combined opponent batting average of .253. The team gave up a total of 41 hits, 35 of those were singles, four doubles, one triple and one home run. The defense finished the weekend with a .963 fielding percentage.

The Valley Girls have a much needed bye week this coming weekend as they have played the maximum games available during the first four weekends. Valley’s next tournament is the Loudonville Invitational July 7th-9th. It has been a great start to the summer as the team has played in the Championship game in each tournament so far. They currently have a record of 2-2 in Championship games. For the summer the team has a record of 22-4 with three more tournaments to play in July.

 

 

 

Valley Girls slug their way to becoming champions of Slam Series II

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!

 

 

 

Walk-off RBI double sends the Valley Girls home with a 2nd place finish at The Notre Dame College Showcase Tournament

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

 

 

Perfect game with 17 K’s sets tone for Valley Girls clean sweep at USSSA Director’s Cup

Opening weekend was finally upon us and the Valley Girls were itching to get on the field.  The weekend brought several great plays and even better individual performances.  Including a perfect game with 17 strikeouts, a one hitter and a 3 run walk-off home run to get the girls into the Championship game sitting in the driver’s seat.  The team ended the weekend with a 5-0 record and their 1st Championship of the summer season.  Dating back to last fall this was the third tournament in a row that these young ladies have battled for a championship.  Losing the previous 2 the girls were determined not to drop 3 in a row.  Courtney Beckley pitched a perfect game striking out 17 of the 21 batters she faced and earned the Tournament MVP Award.  Mackenzie Kendrick earned the Outstanding Pitcher Award with a 1 hit performance in the team’s second pool play game and a complete game victory in the Championship.

 

 

Leading the Valley offensive attack was Amber Peltz with 7 total hits.  She had 6 singles, a double and 3 RBI’s.  Both Courtney Beckley and Abby Warther each contributed 6 hits with 6 singles.  Beckley also had 4 RBI’s and Warther added 5 RBI’s.  Alexis Renner and Annette Weston each had 5 hits, 3 singles, a double and a home run.  Weston’s HR was the 3 run walk-off to send the team to the Championship game.  Renner also had 4 RBI’s and a team leading 4 drawn walks.  Weston led the team with 7 RBI’s for the weekend.  The cousin combo of Zoe Johnson and Kallie Regula each had 4 hits.  Regula had 4 singles and 2 RBI’s while Johnson add 2 Singles, a double and a solo home run with 3 RBI’s.  Jenna Stout ended the weekend with 3 hits and 3 RBI’s and Mackenzie Kendrick added a hit.

 

 

In 18 innings of work Beckley threw a total of 248 pitches.  187 of those were strikes and only 61 balls.  She also had 28 Strikeouts, surrendered 11 hits and walked just 2 batters.  Kendrick got 12 innings in the circle, threw 154 pitches with 99 of those strikes to just 55 balls.  She struck out 7 batters, gave up 5 hits and walked 4.  Combined the pitching staff had an ERA of of just 1.82.

For the weekend the team produced 34 runs on 41 hits, 31 RBI’s, 34 singles, 4 doubles and 3 home runs.  The team batting average was .333 with a .381 on base percentage.  The Valley Girls had 21 hits with runners in scoring position for a .412 batting average.

The defense had their pitchers backs all weekend committing just 3 errors for a .975 fielding percentage and an opponent batting average of just .148.  When you can combine great pitching efforts with solid hitting and great defensive play you can always expect good things to happen.  The team is looking for big things this summer and now have a great foundation to build from.  Next week the Valley Girls are playing at Notre Dame College in South Euclid, OH for their first College Showcase Tournament of the summer.  First game is Friday night at 7 PM on Normandy Field.

Roll Valley Roll

 

 

A Winning Tradition

The Valley Force Softball Program has a tradition of winning.  The organization fields teams from 8U thru 18U.  Being around the organization for some time now I’ve realized that when you are at a tournament that a Valley Force team is at, you can expect that team to compete to the very end and is usually one of the top teams in the tournament.  The organization has won a National Championship within the last couple of years at the younger age group.  This year, the 15U Valley Force 01 team is loaded with talent and are expecting big things this summer.  The team has a full schedule playing 7 out of the 8 weekends between June and July.  The team also has 2 World Series Championships on the schedule for this summer.  The first one is the  All-Sanctioned World Series in Columbus, Ohio and will also compete in the 15U USSSA Great Lakes Odd Year National Championship in Marion, Ohio.

Coach Johnson will be the Manager and serve as Head Coach again this season.  Johnson has a passion for sports and working with young athletes.  He has been working with youth sports since the early 2000’s and is currently coming up on his 13th season of coaching.  The coaching staff also includes Coach Beckley who is coming into her 10th season as a fast pitch coach.  Coach Beckley will shoulder the responsibilities of 1st base coach and work with the pitchers.  Beckley also still competes in a women’s softball league.  Coach Renner will man the stat book and will assist the team in hitting.  Renner has experience coaching baseball and has been involved with fast pitch going on 9 years.  Last summer, Coach Peltz was the team’s 1st base coach.  During the fall he took a step back to do books and spend a little more time with his son this summer who is going into his senior year of high school.  Coach Peltz brings a lot of knowledge and ideas to the table.  He also has around 8 years experience in fast pitch and has been running the youth program for Central Catholic for several years now.  The newest addition to the staff is Coach Warther.  Coach Warther will be charting at bats for the Valley Girls.  He will also assist in hitting and has 8 years of experience with the game of fast pitch.

Under the leadership of this coaching staff the Valley Girls are supporting a record of 53-26-1 for a .662 win percentage, have played in 7 Championship games and won their 3rd straight State Championship.  When asked about the success of the team, coach says, “None of this is possible without the work ethic and dedication the girls have to be the best they can be.  The work ethic they bring to everything they do simply amazes us, especially in the classroom where the girls are carrying a team average 3.79 GPA.  We’ve been around some good teams, but the drive these young ladies have is second to none!  We get so much accomplished at every practice because they show up prepared and wanting to get better.  When you have a group of young athletes with that mentality you can accomplish anything”

As the Valley Girls are winding down their high school seasons, they are getting amped for summer ball to begin.  Beautiful weather (much better than high school season), good company, weekends spent bonding at the hotels and going to battle on long summer days.  This summer, the team plans to continue the winning tradition, fight to bring home their 4th straight State Championship and make a deep run at a National Championship!

Roll Valley Roll!