SLAMMERS are 2012 ASA Class B, MASSACHUSETTS STATE CHAMPIONS!!
The Silver Lake Slammers 14U Fast-Pitch Softball Team were champions of the Mass JR Olympic ASA 14U Class B State Tournament held in Swansea, MA this past weekend. How they achieved this was nothing short of incredible. After losing their first game in extra innings at the start of the tourney, the team entered the "loser's bracket" and would have to continue winning, as their next loss would knock them out of this double elimination tournament.
The weekend kicked off with an early Saturday morning game against a very strong Marlboro Thunder squad. This quickly turned into a pitcher's duel between Marlboro's pitcher and Slammers ace Maddy Barone, combining for 32 K's, before Marlboro won it in extra innings 1-0. This result forced the Slammers into the "loser's bracket", meaning they would have a long road ahead of them of back-to-back games, with their next loss resulting in elimination.
The girls first faced the Western MA Intensity, and got off to a slow start giving up 4 unearned runs early in the game. However the bats slowly woke up led by Hannah Johnson's 2 hits & 4 RBI, Julia Riordan's 2 hits & 2 runs and Leah Mackiewicz's 2 hits & 3 RBI, to pull out a 10-5 victory. Next up the girls made quick work of the Natick Red Rage, with a 16-0 3-inning mercy rule victory. Ari Levenson (triple, 3 RBI), Lea Mason (2 runs, 2 RBI) & Barone (3 triples, 3 runs) paced the offense. Olivia Macomber pitched 2 perfect innings. Next up was the H.E. Hurricanes and despite only 5 hits, it was enough to pull out a 1-0 victory. Anna Battista's clutch 2-out single early in the game scored Kelly Danahy with the game's only run and Barone tossed a 17 strikeout no-hitter. Severe weather then ended the day early.
On Sunday morning, first pitch against Hudson Heat was at 7:00am. Again the girls were able to pull out another 1-0 victory. Lici Kelley was this game's hero, singling in Shannon Grindle with the only run of the game. Becca Hapgood made a big defensive play in left field and Barone K'ed 14 in the shutout. Next up was the Lady Strike Zone team. Strike Zone scored a quick run in the top of the first and took a 1-0 lead into the 4th inning. Mason and Mackiewicz led off with walks and both scampered home on Grindle's RBI single for a 2-1 lead. In the 6th inning Libby Czarniak dropped down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Kelley for a final score of 3-1. For their third game on Sunday, the girls knocked off Dighton Blizzard 8-0 in a 5 inning mercy-rule shortened match. Danahy (2 hits, 2 runs), Macomber (2 hits, 2 runs) and Johnson (3 hits, 2 RBI) paced the offense. Game four of the day found the Slammers facing the Merrimac Valleys Vipers. Levenson, Hapgood and Czarniak made big defensive plays and the offense mixed in some small ball to pull out a 7-2 victory.
The girls were now looking at their 5th game in a row and fatigue was starting to set in. Next up was the Methuen Rangers in the Losers bracket final, as there were now only 3 of the original 22 teams remaining in the tournament. The girls jumped on the Rangers right away in the first inning as Battista's 2-RBI double and a Mackiewicz Sac Fly gave them a 3-0 lead. Riordan made a big catch in left field to end a potential rally. The girls put it away in the 4th led by another Battista 2-run double and rbi hits by Czarniak and Macomber (3 for 3). Barone K'ed 10 and the game was ended after 5 innings by mercy-rule 9-1.
Now it was on to the final and fittingly the team waiting there was Marlboro Thunder, who had handed the Slammers their only loss at the start of the tourney. The Thunder was rested and ready, having only played 4 games to this point, while the Slammers were now starting their 10th game of the weekend. And the Slammers also would have to beat the Thunder twice to capture the title.
The Slammers jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning, but the Thunder answered right back with a run of their own, making it 2-1 after one inning. It would stay that way until the 3rd inning when Grindle stepped to the plate and slammed an 0-2 pitch over the left-center field fence and into the parking lot for a game-breaking 3-run home-run. Each team would add a run for a 6-2 Slammers victory. Danahy & Barone combined to go 7 for 7 with 5 runs scored to pace the offense, while Mason & Czarniak made big inning ending defensive plays.
It was now down to one last game. Danahy led off the game with a single and Barone quickly tripled her in for a 1-0 lead, but the Thunder came right back with a run of their own in the bottom of the first to even the score at 1-1. Midway through the game the coaching staff discussed removing Barone from the circle as she was running on fumes at this point (66 innings, 112 K's, 5 earned runs), but she would have nothing to do with coming out after getting this far. Strong defensive plays by Johnson, Macomber and Levenson helped keep the game at 1-1 until the top of the 7th. Sparkplug Danahy led off with a walk, advanced to 2nd on an infield out and then to 3rd on a Thunder error. With two outs the stage was set for Battista to play the hero and she came through with an RBI infield single plating Danahy with the go ahead run. In the bottom of the 7th, with one out and the potential tying run on first, 2nd baseman Danahy ended any chance of a Thunder comeback with a highlight reel, tournament ending double-play. The Slammers had just played 7 games in 11 hours on Sunday (11 for the weekend), an unprecedented feat.