Spartanburg, S.C. – Mother nature echoed the intensity of the competition today at the USA Softball Junior Olympic (JO) Cup in the first day of elimination as the battle to remain in Spartanburg continued. With a pair of weather delays bringing games into the wee hours of the morning, the fighting spirit of the teams was on display, but only 30 teams will continue on.
In the 14-Under division, nearly half the field was eliminated today as only 12 teams remain in the hunt: East Cobb Bullets – Maher, Florida Impact 05 – Gatewood, Fury Platinum – Brown, Georgia Impact – Janney, Georgia Impact – Lewis, Lady Lightning Gold Futures, Mojo 2024 – Ross, Pro Impact Houston/McCool, SC Elite National, Tampa Mustangs – Rene, Tampa Mustangs – Seymour and TN Mojo 2023.
Of the 15 contests played today, seven were won by three runs or less, with only three teams scoring double-digit runs. Mojo 2024 – Ross and Georgia Impact- Lewis emerged out of the 14-Under A bracket undefeated and will meet at 10:30 a.m. ET in the winner’s bracket finale for a shot at their bracket Championship tomorrow afternoon. Both squads edged by their opponents by one run in their sole contests of the day. In the 14-Under B bracket, it is Florida Impact 05 – Gatewood and Lady Lightning Gold Futures who will face off in their winner’s bracket finale at 10:30 a.m. ET. Both teams earned two-run wins to stay undefeated through bracket play.
TN Mojo 2023 emerged through the 14-Under A loser’s bracket, plating 20 runs to keep their run alive while SC Elite National also earned a pair of wins to advance. In the 14-Under B loser’s bracket, Georgia Impact – Janney and East Cobb Bullets – Maher also picked up a pair of victories, including one shut out a piece, to advance through the loser’s bracket.
In the 16-Under division, only eight teams have a shot at the title: Atlanta Vipers – Billings, Carolina Elite – Maddaluna, East Cobb Bullets, GA Hotshots Premier, Gold Coast Hurricanes – Hammonds, Ohio Outlaws – Schmieser, Tampa Mustangs and TN Mojo.
The bats and competition matched the passion of the competing teams as six games were decided via the run-rule while 11-of-24 games resulted in wins by a margin of only three or less runs. In the 16-Under A bracket, it was the Atlanta Vipers – Billings and TN Mojo who earned run-rule victories in their lone games on the day to advance to the winner’s bracket finale at 10:30 a.m. ET. For the 16-Under B bracket, East Cobb Bullets posted a shutout today while Gold Coast Hurricanes – Hammonds plated two runs in the bottom of the sixth to secure their run-rule win. Those two squads will also meet at 10:30 a.m. ET to determine who will advance to the Championship Game for their bracket.
In the 16-Under A loser’s bracket, Tampa Mustangs earned four wins on the day to continue their run at the USA Softball JO Cup, including two impressive run-rule wins in their final two contests. Also making it through after a 4-3, walk-off win was Ohio Outlaws – Schmieser. In the 16-Under B loser’s bracket, GA Hotshots Premier tallied three wins and Carolina Elite – Maddaluna stayed alive with a 3-0 win after dropping a 4-0 decision earlier in the day.
In the 18-Under division, only 10 teams remain: Atlanta Vipers – Trowell/Ray, Birmingham Vipers – Standifer, Carolina Cardinals – Chandler, Georgia Impact 2020 – Ryman/Caldwell, GA Power Gold Roddy/Worley, Indiana Fusion Elite – Pinkston, LLG DPS – Corn, PA Chaos – Spina, Wildfire 18U – Paulson and Williamsburg Starz – Bunn.
In the 18-Under A bracket, Carolina Cardinals Chandler and GA Power Gold – Roddy/Worley each picked up a one-run win today to advance to a 10:30 a.m. ET match up tomorrow with the winner advancing to the A bracket Championship. The Cardinals sent their one game of the day into extra innings against the Indiana Fusion Elite - Pinkston with Carlie Myrtle driving in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning, defeating the Fusion 2-1. The GA Power Gold claimed a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the PA Chaos in their solo game of the day with a five-run fifth inning that included an Alex Brown triple and Lolli Smith grand slam to fuel the GA Power offense, followed by a Kaitlyn Wells home run in the sixth to seal the win.
In the 18-Under B bracket, LLG DPS - Corn picked up a pair of wins today, advancing to the B bracket Championship contest slated for 3 p.m. ET tomorrow with the winner advancing to the 18-Under JO Cup Championship Game. In their first game of the day, LLG defeated Georgia Impact 2020-21 Ryman/Caldwell, 5-2, before sending the Williamsburg Starz - Bunn to the loser’s bracket with a 7-1 victory. LLG DPS Corn plated a combination of 12 runs in their two games of the day with Elisa Smith recording four RBI while going 4-for-6 at the plate.
Double elimination bracket play continues tomorrow with the Championship contests scheduled to take place on Friday, July 31. Live stats and coverage will be available all week long at USASoftball.com with live streaming from HiCast continuing through Thursday, July 30. Click here or download the HiCast Sports mobile app to watch all the action. Live streaming with continue on Friday, July 31 with Major League Network stepping in to cover all the Championship action on MLB.com.