Braves win again, eyeing nationals title
Lawrence After Friday night, the Tonganoxie Braves were one of four teams unbeaten in the AFA Softball National Championship Tournament. Tonganoxie defeated the Dakota Fury, 2-0, Friday night at the Youth Sports Inc. Complex in Lawrence.
The Braves will play at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Clinton Park. The tournament concludes Saturday, meaning the Braves will most likely play at least three games Saturday in the double elimination tournament.
Pitcher Amie Riddle cashed in on her fifth victory of the tournament. She was simply dominant again, accouting for seven innings and 13 strikeouts. Riddle only gave up three hits and didn't walk a batter.
"I think it's just stamina," Riddle said. "I can't even describe how I felt during this game. I think I just came in knowing that it was going to be a really good game."
Neither team scored for the first 5 1/2 innings.
Senior-to-be shortstop Amanda Darrow led the bottom of the sixth inning with a single. Tracie Hileman followed Darrow's hit with a bunt single, which initially moved Darrow to second. Darrow, the only Braves player who attends Lansing High, sprinted for third base when she saw the Dakota first baseman misplay the throw. Darrow barely beat the throw to third.
Tonganoxie had runners on first and third base with no outs.
"I saw the passed ball and was just hoping I was going to get there," Darrow said. "My foot touched the bag before she tagged me, but it was close. The ball was there before I got there."
Hileman stole second on the next sequence of events, with Melissa Pratt at the plate. Pratt then smashed a fly ball that almost left the park, but fell into the glove of the Dakota centerfielder. Darrow tagged from third to score the game's first run.
Riddle helped her own cause at the plate with a line-drive base hit over the second baseman's outstretched glove. Hileman scored to give Tonganoxie a 2-0 lead.
"I got up there and said, 'We have to get that second run in,'" Riddle said. "When I hit it, (the pitch) was inside, so I know it wasn't a good hit because I felt it on my hands. I thought the girl was going to catch it, but luckily she had no 'ups and it went over her."
Riddle's tournament stat line has been remarkable. She's now compiled 33 innings and 47 strikeouts. She's only allowed one earned run.
Visit www.tonganoxiemirror.com Saturday night to see how the Braves finish the tournament.
Dakota 000 000 0 - 0
Braves 000 002 x - 2