By Ryan Chapman
Illusions Gold Ramsey 16U (TX) passed their stiffest test to date in the Triple Crown OKC.
Behind four scoreless innings from pitcher Brooklyn Malone, Illusions Gold Ramsey battled past the Dakota Legends (SD), 5-0, moving Illusions Gold Ramsey to 3-0 in Pool A.
“That was a good team, they played hard,” Illusions Gold Ramsey coach Ivan Ramirez said. “I tip my hat to them. I know we’ll see them down the road, they’re a good team”
Malone struck out seven batters and only surrendered four hits during her outing in the circle.
“She commanded her balls very well,” Ramirez said of Malone. “She got out of a couple jams, her change-up was working really nice, so we stuck with that and we just executed.”
It wasn’t completely smooth sailing for Malone, as she had to work out of some trouble in the top of the third inning.
After leading off the inning with a hit batter and a walk, Malone battled back. Smartly mixing the speeds of her pitches, she retired three of the next four batters, not allowing the ball to leave the infield for the rest of the inning.
“I felt good,” Malone said. “It was great just knowing my defense was there to support me and make plays whenever they needed too.”
After failing to record a base runner in the first two innings, Illusions Gold Ramsey finally found a breakthrough in the bottom of the third.
Karissa Schneider led off the inning with a hard hit single back up the middle. Teammate Shellie Ferguson advanced Schneider to second with only one out to give her team their first runner in scoring position of the game, and they did not wait long to cash in.
Ivanney Ramirez drove in Schneider for the first lead of the day on a single that snuck through the left side of the infield.
With two outs, Maddi Lenton recorded a 2-RBI single off a ball hammered into right-center field, capping off the three-run inning for Illusions Gold Ramsey.
Ashley Rojas was proud of her team fighting through the early adversity to come out with the win.
“I felt like our energy was really amazing,” Rojas said. “We held all of our teammates accountable and everyone did their jobs.”
Schneider capped off the win with a 2-RBI sac-fly in the bottom of the fourth inning to plate the final two runs of the game.
Rojas believes her team is ready the weekend on a high note tomorrow.
“Everyone seems really excited and really pumped up. I feel like this whole tournament has been really good so far, so I’m excited to see where we go tomorrow,” she said.