U-14 Silver Bullets are State Class D
The Cloquet VFW Silver Bullets U-14 girls fastpitch team rebounded from a loss Sunday to win the Minnesota ASA-MSF State Class D Fastpitch Championship in Hutchinson, Minn. The Silver Bullets came out of the losers bracket to win three straight g...
The Cloquet VFW Silver Bullets U-14 girls fastpitch team rebounded from a loss Sunday to win the Minnesota ASA-MSF State Class D Fastpitch Championship in Hutchinson, Minn. The Silver Bullets came out of the losers bracket to win three straight games of five total on Sunday to gain the title.
The Silver Bullets opened with a come-from-behind win over the Morris Braves Owls. After scoring eight runs in the first inning against Morris, the VFW's bats went quiet while the Owls pecked away before finally taking a 12-10 lead entering the last inning.
"I thought we played poorly and with the jitters in that first game," said coach Scott Rodd. "We made errors and tossed the ball around which is something we never do. I was just happy to escape with a win."
Dalyce Gustafson started off the final inning with a triple, Kelly Carlson walked and stole second base. Ariel Morris singled to score Gustafson and Elizabeth Jezierski followed with a base hit to score Carlson. Morris then scored on a wild pitch and finally Jezierski came in on an error by the catcher to give the VFW a 14-12 lead. Morris managed a run in the bottom of the sixth inning, but it wasn't enough as the Silver Bullets came away with a 14-13 win. Denise Rodd picked up the pitching win for Cloquet.
Game two action saw the VFW down Southland 6-2 in a game they led the entire way. Cloquet struck for three runs in the top of the second inning when Carlson, Morris and Jezierski all singled back-to-back and then Makenzie Korby and Alyssa Johnson singled after a strikeout to score the runs. Rodd pitched a complete game, giving up four hits and striking out four.
Sunday, the Silver Bullets opened with a 10-9 extra-inning win over the Winona WinStars. Carlson and Gustafson scored first-inning runs on a double by Carlson, a single by Gustafson and then a base hit by Jezierski. The WinStars took a 3-2 lead in the top of the second, but Korby ran to second beating a throw and scored on an error off a ground out by Morgan Jenson. Carlson and Gustafson both scored in the bottom of the third to push the VFW lead to 5-3 and then leading 5-4 heading to the top of the fifth, the Silver Bullets added two more when Gustafson and Jezierski both scored to make it 7-4.
The WinStars then scored three times to go up 8-7. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Jezierski singled, Morris followed with a single to score Jezierski to tie the game.
In the top of the eighth, the WinStars took a 9-8 lead, but in the bottom of the eighth, Carley Esse scored on a base hit by Korby. Korby managed to get to third on a wild pitch, but the WinStars managed a pair of outs and it appeared Korby would be stranded at third. Alyssa Johnson then hit a grounder to third that was bobbled and legged out an infield base hit, allowing Korby to score the winning run.
Rodd struck out 14 batters and allowed just a couple earned runs in the win.
In the second Sunday game, the VFW fell to Glencoe-Silver Lake (GSL) 8-7. Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the first, the Silver Bullets tied the game when both Johnson and Gustafson scored. However, GSL plated three runs in the second and another in the fourth for a 6-2 lead.
"McKenzie Korby came in and pitched well, and held us in there, but we were never able to get back over the hump completely," Rodd said.
The VFW scored three in the bottom of the fourth and added a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking a 7-6 lead. GSL responded with two unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth and took the win.
The loss dropped the Silver Bullets into the losers bracket where they beat the WinStars 8-4.
Trailing 2-0 after the first inning, the VFW bashed out five hits and a walk in the second to score five runs. Johnson, Carlson, Gustafson, Esse and Laurel Morris all scored making it 5-2. The VFW got some breathing room in the bottom of the fifth as they picked up three more runs from Korby, Laurel Morris and Kayla Messesa to take an 8-2 lead. The WinStars managed two in the top of the sixth, but the Cloquet defense then shut the door in the seventh, giving them the win and at least a top-two finish. The win put the VFW into what would be the first of two championship games against the only team in the tournament to defeat them, GSL. In game one, after falling behind 2-0, the VFW pounced for five runs in the bottom of the second inning.
Esse, Korby, Laurel Morris, Masessa and Katelyn Becker all scored to give them a 5-2 lead. Rodd shut the GSL big hitters down over the next four innings while the VFW managed another run by Carlson in the fourth and two runs in the fifth by Korby and Masessa to go up 8-2.
GSL scrounged for a run in the seventh, but it was too little to make up the difference. Rodd gave up three hits in the game. The championship game started slow for the Silver Bullets as they trailed 1-0 entering the top of the third, but the VFW exploded for three runs to pick up a 3-1 lead. With bases loaded, Carlson hit a hard shot to right that was misplayed by the right fielder, allowing all three runs. GSL bounced back with two in the bottom of the third to even the game 3-3. The VFW broke it open in the top of the sixth inning when they went ahead 7-4. GSL added a run in the bottom of the sixth, but in the top of the seventh Jezierski reached on a single and with two outs Korby walked, putting runners at first and second with Jezierski eventually scoring on a passed ball. Laurel Morris was hit by a pitch moving Korby to second and then Massesa ripped a double down the line in left to score Korby.
"At the end of the game the girls could smell another state championship," said Rodd.
In the seventh, GSL put the ball in play and as a hard line drive settled in first baseman Ariel Morris's glove, the Silver Bullets had their state title.
The VFW finishes their season with a 26-5 record.