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Shooters Escape ECI, House Rules, Best Stage II In Great Lakes Women’s “B-C” Nationals At Lincoln Park; Timely Hitting, Defense, Pitching Carry Champions To Title

Columbus, In.–The Shooters escaped the first two rounds with a pair of dramatic one-run victories, then disposed of defending USSSA “B” World champions Stage II 10-4 and 9-5 en route to a first place finish in the USSSA Great Lakes Women’s “B-C” National Tournament September 5-7 at Lincoln Park.

The Shooters survived a ten-inning 19-18 slugfest with ECI in their opener, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 10th on the strength of a Dana Johnson triple and a Kristin Miller sac fly.  Two innings prior, Shooters had rallied for four runs in the bottom of the 8th to prolong the game.

Then in game two, the Dayton, Oh., team rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 5th to slip past House Rules/Crosley’s/Stacey/Weston 6-5.  Johnson delivered the big blow again with a two-run, two out double in the 5th that erased a 5-4 deficit.

Shooters never trailed again as they brushed aside Stage II 10-4 in the winners’ bracket finals and 9-5 in the championship game.

Timely hitting, defense and some “great pitching” by tournament MVP Marilyn Clifford got the job done for the winners, said manager Fred Dunson.

“When we hit, we hit together in most games, which was very helpful” observed Dunson.  “And we had a lot of two out base hits in the tournament.  In some games the top of the order carried us, in some games the middle of the order carried us, and in some games it was the bottom of the order.  So it was truly a team effort,” said Dunson.

“Great pitching kept us in each game, and the team really seemed focused this weekend,” added Dunson.  “They knew what to do with the ball.  We turned a couple of key double plays and got some key pitching at a time when Stage II had loaded the bases with nobody out and the meat of their order was up, and they already had three runs in.  But we got out of the inning with no further damage, and that was a turning point.  They’re a very good and classy team.”

Dunson said his team “showed a lot of guts” in their win over ECI in game one.

“The first game was a slugger’s duel and we never gave up,” said Dunson.  “There weren’t a lot of errors, just good defensive plays and hits.  And to come up in the bottom of the 8th and down by four runs, and having the ability to score four runs showed a never-say-die attitude.  We just didn’t give up.

“But after that game we settled down as a team and gave up five runs in one game, four in another an five in the last game.  Stage II had a total of nine runs against us in two games, and that was very impressive because they’re a very good hitting team.

“Out of fourteen innings, we held them scoreless in eleven,” noted Dunson.

Misty Sellars paced an offensive line-up that boasted nine plus-.550 hitters with a .722 effort.  Shorty Harris followed right behind at .700, Dana Johnson batted .647, Terri Scherl .643, Kristin Miller and Karen Kron .625, Mary Beth Brust .600, and Marilyn Clifford and Crystal Wilson .571.

The Shooters averaged .567 as a team and scored forty-four runs.

Sellars, Harris, Scherl, Miller and Julie Unsinger were named to the All-Tournament team.  Dana Johnson received the Outstanding Defense Player Award and Marilyln Clifford was selected tournament MVP.

“Misty was basically a hitting machine and she was hitting line drives all over the place all weekend,” said Dunson.  “She batted sixth in our order and tended to be in a position to knock runs in and she had nine rbi’s.

“Shorty Harris was our AH and she was almost automatic,” Dunson continued.  “She had a couple of big sac flies and had two key hits and a couple of walks in the championship game.

Dunson said Scherl “played well in the field and she was 4-for-4 against Stage II in the winners’ bracket finals and in the last game drew two important walks and ended up scoring.”

Dunson called Miller his team’s “Albert Pujols.

“She came up with two big hits in the first game,” recalled Dunson.  “When we were down by four runs she had a double to tie the game in the 8th, and eventually knocked in the winning run in the 10th.  And she was 6-for-7 against Stage II.”

Unsinger made the All-Tournament team primarily for a gutsy defensive effort, said Dunson.

“She had a foot condition but played 3rd base and made several key plays that kept us in the game, and she turned a big double play in our last game with Stage II when they were making a comeback.  She snagged a line drive and tagged 3rd base, and then got the runner in a run-down and we got out of the inning.  She also made some stellar defensive plays at key points in our game with Crosley’s, and offensively she got some key hits with two outs to keep innings going.”

Dunson said Johnson was a “team leader all weekend.

“She bats in the five spot in our first game she scored five runs and got some big hits and drove in five runs.  And when we were down against ECI, she got a triple in the 10th to score the winning run, and against Crosley’s she doubled in two runs in the 5th to give us a 6-5 win.

“But our pitching was really the key, and that’s why Marilyn Clifford was named MVP,” said Dunson.  “She only walked one batter the whole tournament and had several strikeouts looking.  She kept the ball in play where we had a chance to get outs.”

The Shooters seemed destined to enter the losers’ bracket after falling behind ECI 13-6 after four.  But Shooters chipped away at the lead, and used a five-run outburst in the bottom of the 6th to take a 14-13 advantage.  ECI got a run home in the top of the 7th to force the game into extra innings, then forged a four-run lead in the top of the 8th.  But Shooters answered with four to extend the game two more innings, when they pushed across the game winner in the bottom of the 10th.  Dana Johnson got things underway with a leadoff triple.  ECI issued a pair of intentional walks to load the bases, but Kristin Miller spoiled the strategy, plating Johnson with the game winner on a sac fly.

Johnson, Misty Sellars and Mary Beth Brust pounded out five hits each.  Miller, who delivered a clutch two-run double to tie the game in the 8th, went 4-for-6 along with Crystal Wilson.

Next Shooters needed two runs in the bottom of the 5th to overcome a 5-4 deficit and pull out a 6-5 victory over Crosley’s.  Heidi Gildow and Crystal Wilson singled to open up the 5th, but after two fly outs, it looked like both runners would be stranded.  But Dana Johnson doubled to plate both runs and give her club an eventual 6-5 victory.  Pitcher Marilyn Clifford held House Rules scoreless over the final two innings to preserve the win.

Misty Sellars and Shorty Harris combined for six hits for the winners.

In the winners’ bracket finals, Shooters jumped out to a 7-0 lead with two in the 2nd, one in the 3rd and four in the 4th, then cruised to an easy 10-4 win.  A Marilyn Clifford double and a Kim Riley base hit put their club on top 2-0 in the 1st.  Dana Johnson’s rbi single made it 3-0 in the 3rd, then in the 4th Terri Scherl singled home a run, Julie Unsinger followed with a two-run single, and Karen Kron contributed an rbi single to cap off the inning.  Shooters tacked on three in the 7th as the lead swelled to 10-1 with the aid of a Misty Sellars rbi triple and a two-run Kristin Miller double.

Miller and Scherl were both perfect in four trips to the plate, and Sellars, Riley, Kron and Shorty Harris were each 3-for-4.

Stage II bounced back to dispose of House Rules 7-6 in the losers’ bracket finals, but found themselves staring at a 5-0 deficit a after an inning and a half in the finals.  But the St. Louis squad battled back to knot the score with one in the bottom of the 2nd, three in the 4th and one in the 5th.  But that proved to be their last hurrah, as the Shooters scored the games final four runs, erupting for three in the 6th to grab the lead, then adding one in the 7th to close out the scoring.  In the 6th veteran Mary Beth Brust singled, moved into scoring position on Dana Johnson’s base hit, then scored the eventual game winner on a Misty Sellars rbi double.  Then Kristin Miller doubled in a pair of insurance runs to make it 8-5.

Johnson and Kron shared eight hits to power the champions.

Shooters manager Fred Dunson said his team was always ready when they needed a big hit or defensive stop.

“Whatever we needed, somebody stepped up and made it happen at the right time,” said Dunson.  “Even in our first game when we came back twice we never felt like we were going to lose, even though there were a couple of innings when we didn’t score at all.  That game sparked us on the rest of the tournament.

“We’re looking forward to going to Florida and hoping to have another successful weekend,” said Dunson.  “If we provide the effort we provided this weekend, that’s all I can ask.  It was evident they were playing as hard as they can play.  If they make the same effort at the world, then whatever happens, I’ll be happy.”

Dunson called this year’s Shooters “the best team I’ve had in twenty-something years as far as chemistry and getting along.  And it’s truly been one of those situations where it’s been a team effort and it’s been a pleasure to coach.”

USSSA GREAT LAKES DIVISION WOMEN’S “B-C”
CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT FINAL STANDINGS

1.    Shooters, OH    4 0
2.    Stage II, St. Louis, MO    3 2
3.    House Rules/Crosley’s/Stacey/Weston, Cin., OH    3 2
4.    Hill & Griffith    1 3
5.    Dented Bats/Stealth, Mooresville, IN    1 3
ECI, Olathe, KS    0 3
Shanna Cole    ECI

BUD LIGHT-USSSA GREAT LAKES DIVISION
WOMEN’S CLASS “B-C” ALL-TOURN. TEAM

Jessi Griffin    Dented Bats Softball/Stealth Comm
Lisa Richter    Hill & Griffith
Stephanie Yeager    Hill & Griffith
Elizabeth Ulland    House Rules/Crosley’s/Stacey/Weston
Talia Mitchell    House Rules/Crosley’s/Stacey/Weston
Jennifer Spears    House Rules/Crosley’s/Stacey/Weston
Dee Brignole    Stage II
Kim Clayman    Stage II
Sandy Fletcher    Stage II
Lisa Harvey    Stage II
Arline Harris    Shooters
Kristin Miller    Shooters
Terri Scherl-Shepard    Shooters
Misti Sellars    Shooters
Julie Unsinger    Shooters
Dana Johnson – ODP    Shooters
Sarah Lange – OOP    Stage II
Marilyn Clifford – MVP    Shooters

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Posted by on Sep 11 2009.
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