Nitro win championshipPublished 9:12am Wednesday, September 2, 2009
EDWARDSBURG – The Niles Nitro 12U travel softball team won the Burg Classic in Edwardsburg on Sunday.
After getting rained out on Saturday of the previous week they finished up the tournament this weekend.
Nitro started the day in the final game of the winner’s bracket by beating Concord 9-0 to advance to the double elimination championship game.
Candyce Peppers went 2-for-2 at the plate while Olivia Jordan, Morgan Richer, Tala Gentry, Kierra Fillwock, Amelia Ernsberger and Kylee Myer each singled.
Tegan Bays reached base in both at bats walking and hitting into a fielder’s choice. Tala Gentry picked up the win on the mound and faced 20 batters striking out 13 and giving up one hit and no runs.
The Nitro lost the first game to South Bend Twist 8-4. Trailing 3-2, the Nitro gave up five runs in the bottom of the fourth to open up the game to 8-2.
Nitro rallied with two in the sixth but it was not enough. Rachel Bonek went 3-for-3 at the plate with a double and a triple. Olivia Jordan had two singles while Gentry, Courtney Ankrapp, Megan McKeel and Peppers each singled.
Gentry took the loss giving up six runs, McKeel finished in relief.
In the championship game, the Nitro jumped out in the second inning to a 1-0 advantage.
Bonek led off with a single, stole second advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a fielder’s choice play at home off the bat of Ernsberger.
The Twist threatened in the third with a one-out single and then another sharply hit ball to right field that Ankrapp fielded and gunned her out at first for the second out to kill the rally.
The lead lasted until the bottom of the fourth when the Twist scored two runs on three singles taking a 2-1 lead into the fifth.
In the top of the fifth, the Nitro bats came alive. Four consecutive singles by Ernsberger, McKeel, Peppers and Myer started the inning.
Myer’s single drove in two runs giving Nitro the lead at 3-2. With runners on second and third Morgan Richer singled in Myer and Peppers to push the lead to 5-2.
Tala Gentry then tripled to left center scoring Richer and was thrown out at home trying to stretch it into a home run to give Nitro the lead 6-2.
After a three up three down inning in the bottom of the fifth, Nitro came back in the six to score two more runs.
Ernsberger doubled to start the rally and was driven in by McKeel’s single. Fillwock pinch running for McKeel, stole second base, moved to third on a ground out and scored on a pass ball to increase the lead to 8-2.
The Twist rallied to score three runs in the sixth to end the scoring at 8-5.
Ernsberger, McKeel and Myer each had two hits while Richer, Gentry, Bonek and Peppers each singled.
McKeel picked up the win on the mound going all six innings in a great effort.
Nitro in its first year of existence improved its overall record to 18-9 for the season.
“This was really a great way to end the summer for the girls,” Nitro manager Rick McKeel said. “This group of young ladies worked very hard in the offseason inside the gym and all summer long and to see that hard work pay off is what it’s all about. Our coaching staff is very proud of these girls”
Rain delayed most of the play on Saturday (Aug. 22) so the tournament was extended another weekend.
The Niles Nitro went 1-1 in pool play then won both of its tournament bracket games putting them in the finals of the winner’s bracket.
The Nitro started slow on Saturday and lost to South Bend Twist 4-2. Nitro bats were silent as they went hitless in the contest. McKeel suffered the loss. The lone bright spots came defensively from Richer, Bays and Ankrapp who made spectacular plays in the field.
On Sunday, the Nitro finished up its pool play game defeating Osceola Crush 3-1. Rachel Bonek had a single and a double, while Fillwock and McKeel also singled. Gentry picked up the win in five innings of work allowing one hit and striking out nine batters and allowing only one run.
The Nitro defeated Tidal Wave of South Bend in a thrilling come from behind win 4-3 in the first game of bracket play.
With the game tied 1-1 after six innings the international tie breaker rule was implemented, putting a runner on second base with no outs.
After giving up two runs to Tidal Wave in the seventh and trailing 3-1, the Nitro bats exploded. Jordan started the inning on second base. Richer beat out an infield hit to lead off and a hustling Jordan scored from second to make it 3-2. Gentry doubled putting runners on second and third with no outs. Fillwock then singled sharply to left field to drive in the winning runs. Gentry led the hitting with a double and a triple, while Jordan, Richer, Fillwock and McKeel also singled. Gentry was dominant on the mound and picked up the win allowing one hit and striking out 12 batters in seven innings of work.
The second bracket play game, the Nitro took revenge of its only loss to Twist by beating them 4-2 in a tight game. Nitro came right out swinging in the first. After a Richer single, Gentry blasted a double to the wall scoring Richer to take a 1-0 lead. Nitro struck again in the third. Peppers doubled to lead off; Myer laid down a great bunt and reached on an errant throw scoring Peppers from second. Myer stole second and third and scored on a timely two out single by Jordan to give the Nitro a 3-0 lead. In the fourth, Gentry reached on an error and stole second and third and Bonek’s clutch single with two outs made it 4-0. In the fourth, the Twist started to rally as Gentry began tiring after pitching her 3rd game of the day.
After a couple of walks and a hit the lead was trimmed to 4-2. McKeel entered the game in relief and worked out of jam to hold the lead at 4-2 with help from catcher Fillwock, who gunned down an attempted stealer to end the inning. McKeel retired the next six batters to end the game. Nitro got doubles from Gentry and Peppers and singles from Jordan, Richer, Bonek and Myer.