Clearwater, Fla. --- The ASA 18-Under GOLD National Championship title made its way back to Georgia as the Atlanta Vipers GOLD claimed the 2013 title with a 3-2 win over the Wagner's GOLD the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today.
“What a great feeling," said Head Coach Greg Giles. "I've watched or coached these girls since they were 12 years old. We've finished in the top 5 the last two years, so this team was seasoned and ready for this. It was our time this year, and I'm so proud of them."
Wagner's GOLD took the lead early in the top of the first inning when Jessie TenBroeck doubled to start the game. TenBroeck then stole third base and a throwing error by the catcher led to the first run of the game. Wagner's then got two additional base runners when starting pitcher Sam Martin walked two batters, prompting a pitching change for the Vipers. Megan Betsa entered the circle and shut down the Wagner's with a strikeout and a groundout to end the top of the first.
The Vipers would put a run of their own on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Jessie Finch led off with a single and was moved over on a sac-bunt by Jenna Abbott. A walk to Madison Whitmire put two runners on base for Alaina Hall, who belted a double to score Finch and tie the game at 1-1.
Wagner's would regain the lead in the top of the third after Martin issued a walk to Mary Warren. Ashia Kerr, who started the game as the flex player, subbed in to replace Warren on the base path. Kerr then stole second base, but an error on the defense provided her enough time to round third and score, putting the Wagner's up 2-1.
The game would remain at 2-1 until the bottom of the sixth inning. Jenna Abbott hit a double to start the rally for the Vipers. With Abbott on second, Madison Whitmire connected for the long ball, sending a shot over the left field fence to plate two runs and giving the Vipers the 3-2 lead. The lead would prove to be enough, as two strikeouts by Betsa and a groundout ended the game in the top of the seventh, with the Vipers coming out with the National Champion title.
“We've worked so hard this week," said Betsa. "We had a bad game early on where we got really down on ourselves, but once bracket play started we picked up a new mentality and pushed through. We hit the ball really well and played together as a team, and that's what I'm so proud of is how much we came together."
In the circle, Betsa earned the win after entering in the top of the first for Martin. Martin issued 12 strikeouts through 6.2 innings of work, allowing only three hits and no earned runs. For the Wagner's, Aleshia Ocasio took the loss after pitching her second-consecutive game of the day. She gave up three runs off of seven hits while striking out six.
A complete order of finish and bracket of the 64-team championship can be found at USASoftball.com. The 2014 18-Under GOLD National Championship will take place in Oklahoma City at the ASA Hall of Fame Complex.
Wagner's GOLD Dunn 5, Rock 18U GOLD 2
The Wagner's GOLD Dunn punched their ticket to the Championship Game by defeating the Rock 18U GOLD 5-2 in the semi-final game.
Leading the way for Wagner's GOLD was Jessie TenBroeck, who was a perfect 2-for-2 with Ashia Kerr knocking in two RBI. Aleshia Ocasio led Wagner's from the circle, going the full seven frames with six strikeouts and giving up two runs.
For the Rock, Dominique Pinto and Rebecca Hall each went 1-for-3, with Pinto bringing in one RBI. Erynn Sobieski took the loss for the Rock, giving up four runs off of four hits in one inning pitched. Kylee Hanson entered in relief in the second inning, giving up one run and two hits. Jaclyn Amato finished the final two innings of the game, striking out two and allowing no runs or hits
Wagner's GOLD Dunn 7, Fury 95 2
The Wagner's GOLD Dunn pushed themselves one step closer to the Championship Game at the ASA 18U GOLD National Championship with a 7-2 win over Fury 95 Andrus.
Mary Warren led the offense, going a perfect 2-for-2 with three RBI. From the mound, Chase Cassady pitched the full frame for Wagner's. She issued four strikeouts while giving up nine hits and two runs.
For the Fury 95, Shaye Harre and Haley Carter each went 2-for-4, with Harre collecting one RBI. Meagan Prince took the loss for the Fury, giving up five runs off of seven hits. Emily Boyd entered in relief in the fourth inning, giving up two runs off two hits.
Atlanta Vipers - Giles 6, Rock 18U GOLD 1
Strong pitching by Megan Betsa helped push the Atlanta Vipers - Giles to the Championship Game at the ASA 18U GOLD National Championship with a 6-1 win over Rock 18U GOLD. With the win, the Viper secured a spot in the Championship Game.
Betsa issued seven strikeouts over her seven innings pitched, allowing only three hits and one run. Miranda Strother propelled the offense, going 2-for-3 with one RBI.
For the Rock, Kylee Hanson took the loss, going three innings with one strikeout, five hits and three runs allowed. Jaclyn Amato entered in relief in the fourth inning, issuing one strikeout while giving up two hits and two runs.
Fury 95 Andrus 6, Tulsa Elite 95 5
It was an offensive fight to the finish for the Fury 95 Andrus and Tulsa Elite 95 at the ASA 18U GOLD National Championship. Both teams combined for a total of 23 hits, with the Fury 95 coming out on top 6-5 (10 innings).
Fury 95 starting pitcher Emily Boyd threw the first nine frames for her squad, allowing five runs to score off of eight hits. At the plate, Shaliyah Geathers led the offense, going 3-for-5 with one run scored.
Beason took the loss for the Tulsa Elite 95, pitching every inning and giving up six runs off of 15 hits.
Wagner's GOLD Dunn 9, Texas Aces Express 5
Defensive mistakes proved to be the downfall for the Texas Aces Express, who fell 9-5 to the Wagner's GOLD Dunn at the ASA 18U GOLD National Championship.
Wagners GOLD Dunn, with the help of six Aces errors, combined for a .345 batting average with Ashia Kerr producing two RBI and going 2-for-3. Paige Kovalsky pitched the first three innings, with Chase Cassady entering in relief in the fourth. Kovalsky gave up all five runs off of four hits and struck out two, while Cassady held the Aces scoreless, giving up only three hits while issuing three strikeouts.
For the TX Aces Express, Rebecca Myslenski led the offense, going 2-for-3. Jordan Franks took the loss, going three innings with seven runs off of seven hits. Sam Show entered in relief in the fourth, giving up the remaining two runs off of three hits.