The Lake Forest Scouts 14-U Gold team defeated the Wisconsin Lightning 4-3 to win the NSA tournament championship at the Waukegan Sports Complex on Sept 28.
The Scouts won all five games played, outscoring opponents 39-12. Outstanding pitching was provided by Taylor Zelich (4-0, 1.00 ERA) and Elisa Nettesheim (1-0, 2.25 ERA) The offense was led by Jon’nah Williams (9-15, 8 runs, 7 steals) Sydney Martens (7-14, 6 runs, 5 RBI) and Zelich (7-14, 8 RBIs). The big hits started in the first pool play game vs Fireworks, as Ellie Pearson hit her first home run of the season.
Along with timely team hitting, the Scouts played great defense throughout the tournament. Skye Miller contributed with solid play in left field, along with Shannon Stowe at second base and outfield.
In the quarterfinal game, the Scouts defeated the Warren Wave. The Scouts got all they needed in the first inning, scoring five runs on six hits, highlighted by a bases-loaded single to center by Grace Tirzmalis.
The Scouts then beat the Illinois Shockwave in the semifinal game with a great comeback. The Scouts trailed 5-2 in the third inning when Emma Olson ripped a three-run double to the gap in left field. The offensive explosion continued in the fourth inning when the Scouts scored eight runs on seven hits, highlighted by a bases-clearing triple to right center by Zelich. The Scouts prevailed 13-5.
In the championship game against the Wisconsin Lightning, the Scouts trailed 3-2 in the fourth inning when, with two outs, Martens lined a single to center to score the speedy Williams from second. The score remained the same until the last half of the final inning before the game was to go into the international tie breaker. With two outs and no one on base, Grace Tamisiea ripped her third hit of the game to center to keep the inning alive for Hannah Atchley. On the second pitch, Atchley ripped a line shot deep into the gap in left center field, scoring pinch runner Nettesheim from first base to give the Scouts an exciting walk-off tournament championship victory.
“I was very excited for the girls to experience winning the way they did. This truly was a complete team championship where everyone chipped in one way or another to help the team win it. It just doesn’t get any better than this in youth softball,” said Scouts manager Neal Kahalnik, who is assisted by Sammie Bloomfield. “We had outstanding pitching, solid hitting and defense throughout the tournament, which did the trick.”