Braves open bracket play with victory at nationals
Lawrence The Tonganoxie Braves began the first day of bracket play at the AFA Softball National Championship Tournament with a 3-1 victory against the Kearney (Neb.) Flames at the Youth Sports Inc. Complex in Lawrence.
Tonganoxie is now 4-0 at the tournament after winning its first three games of pool play.
The Braves will play their next game at 8:30 p.m. Friday at YSI.
Amanda Darrow began the Tonganoxie scoring in the first inning. The shortstop walked, then stole second. After advancing to third, Darrow scored on a wild pitch for the game's first run.
Centerfielder Tracie Hileman took one for the team for the Braves' second run. Hileman was hit in the arm with the bases loaded, which scored Tonganoxie's second run.
Kearney kept the game close at 2-1 in the sixth inning.
Tonganoxie catcher Melissa Pratt sealed the game in the top of the seventh inning with a solo home run to deep left field. Braves players and the coaching staff met Pratt at the plate for a celebratory gathering.
"It was a 3-2 count, so I was expecting her to put it down the middle," Pratt said. "I didn't expect it to go over the fence. I just wanted to put it in play."
Pratt went 3-for-4 from the plate with a single, double and the home run, which Pratt said she knew was out as soon as she hit it.
"It was awesome because it's nationals where it really counts," Pratt said. "Everyone signed the ball. It's a tradition. I have a little case I put all my home run balls in and that's where it's going to go."
Amie Riddle was outstanding again on the mound for Tonganoxie. The ace pitched all seven innings and gave up four hits and one earned run. Riddle didn't walk a batter and struck out eight.
Riddle now has compiled 26 innings in the tournament and has only given up one earned run. She's struck out 34 batters total.
Visit www.tonganoxiemirror.com Friday night and the rest of the weekend to see how the Braves finish the tournament.
Tonganoxie 110 000 1 - 3
Kearney 000 100 0 - 1