Oklahoma Bombers-Aud avenged a 4-0 pool play defeat to OK Exclusive 18U Premier-Hughes in style, winning the 18U championship at the Triple Crown OKC. In a six-inning battle, the Bombers emerged victorious by a margin of 12-9.
“It was a good win for the girls,” coach Mike Aud said. “We put in the work all winter, worked hard, and we were ready to come out and play. They kind of struggled at first, but they pulled it together and came out with a solid win.”
Despite seeing three runs cross home plate in the top of the first inning, the Bombers played from behind early as OK Exclusive took the lead in the bottom half of the frame.
A 2-RBI single from Shianna Woods put the first two runs on the board for OK Exclusive, and then Sara Llamas-Howell piggy-backed on Woods’ effort in the next at-bat.
Llamas-Howell plated two more teammates with her full-count 2-RBI double to give OK Exclusive the early 4-3 lead.
OK Exclusive extended its advantage to 7-4 in the bottom of the second inning, highlighted by Sierra Woods’ inside-the-park home run.
Sierra Woods laid down a bunt to advance her teammate but when the Bombers sent the throw to first base down the right field line, an innocent bunt turned into a 2-RBI sprint around the bases.
The Bombers didn’t wait long to respond.
“When we got down, we just decided that we weren’t going to give up and we kept pushing,” Bombers DP Emily Bingham said. “The message in the dugout was we just needed to keep fighting and never give up.”
After adding two runs in the top of the third, Ana Aguilar drilled a pitch to center field, recording a leadoff triple. In the ensuing at-bat, Emma Davis tied the game for the Bombers with a single that snuck into left field.
Taitum Bradshaw brought Davis home to give the Bombers the lead later in the inning, despite grounding out to third.
Aguilar came up big for her team again in the fifth when she drove in a run on a double to right field.
“We all came together and had the mentality of ‘swing, swing, swing’ and we were going to come out fighting and we weren’t going to give up without a fight,” pitcher Evy Aud said. “It feels really good.”
While the Bombers’ bats continued to produce, Evy Aud grew into the game in the circle.
After allowing five runs in the first two innings, she battled back to surrender just two runs in the remainder of the game. Keeping OK Exclusive off the board in the third and fourth innings, she allowed her team to regain the momentum and establish its foothold in the game.
“Evy has been real good about coming along and pushing the girls. She works hard, and she’s always been one to pull it out in the end,” coach Aud said of his pitcher’s fight throughout the game.
Evy Aud would give herself the final insurance run of the game in the top of the sixth. Aud laid down a perfectly placed bunt and beat out the throw to first base, bringing home Carly Kelley in the process.
“This is our first championship of the season and we’re really excited about that,” Evy Aud said. “I’m just happy that we fought and did our best.”
The Bombers look forward to building on their success in Oklahoma City throughout the summer.
“We’re headed to San Antonio next weekend and we’ll be coming out ready to swing the bat and feeling good on defense,” Bingham said.
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.
By Ryan Chapman
With time running down, 16U Millard Fury (NE) coach Dylan Bestenlehner wasn’t worried about his team.
“Our team really doesn’t put too much pressure on ourselves,” he said. “They go out there and they do their job.”
Millard Fury trailed the Sundodgers (WA) 7-5 headed into the bottom of the fourth inning before their late rally put them over the top, 9-7.
Kennedy Kadlec drew a leadoff walk for the Millard Fury to start off the inning. Then Gabi Puk wore a pitch for her team, and Jocelyn Diaz tallied a single to load the bases with the top of the order due up.
In the next at-bat, Caroline Ohlendorf tied the game with a 2-RBI single back up the middle.
Paige Druskis capped off her 2-3 day with a 2-RBI at-bat of her own. Her double cleared the bases and drove home the final two runs of the contest, sealing the game for her team.
“The win felt really good,” Krahmolisch said. “We started passing the bat and the mojo kept getting bigger and bigger and the atmosphere grew.”
Millard Fury had to battle back after a big third inning for the Sundodgers.
Rachael Freebourn gave the Sundodgers the lead on a towering SAC-fly to center field, allowing teammate Alex Ginnis to tag up at third base and score.
Savannah Antonowicz picked up an RBI single in her first at-bat of the afternoon and was able to steal second to put a runner in scoring position with two outs.
Alyssa Vasqueuz brought Antonowicz home to extend the Sundodgers lead to two runs.
Despite the big inning from the opposition, Avery Laing never doubted her team’s ability to manufacture a comeback.
“The atmosphere that we had in the dugout was really positive,” Laing said. “We stayed positive the entire game and didn’t give up at all. We just kept going and going and we kept our hits up and ended up with the win.”
Bestenlehner was pleased with how his team performed in the face of adversity.
“Our team responded really well,” he said. “We have a great hitting team and when they’re on, the whole team hits. They pass the bat back and forth and they’re great.”
“This was a really good team that we played and we just buckled down, did our best and worked hard,” Krahmolisch said. “This win will help us in this tournament and further on in summer ball.”
Millard Fury wrapped up play in Pool B with its victory.
The Sundodgers will finish up their pool play at 5:00 p.m. when they face Pool B leaders Dallas Tigers McNutt (TX).
By Ryan Chapman
Despite the long trip to Oklahoma City from San Diego, Power Surge Berndes (CA) didn’t wait to make their mark, getting off to an electric start in 12U Pool A play.
After defeating the Dallas Tigers 12U Mosqueda in their first game of the day 21-1, they followed their performance up with a 10-0 victory over Glory Atkins Gold (TX).
“We’ve been working towards this tournament for a long time,” coach Scott Berndes said.
Berndes commended the experience of his team, allowing them to get off to a hot start.
“They’re a veteran team. We’ve been in nationals in California every year since they were 10 and nine years old. The big stage is not big for them,” he said.
Power Surge looked comfortable all morning, especially pitcher McKenna Gieger.
Getting the nod in game two, Gieger gave her team three innings of excellent work. She retired all nine batters she faced in order, surrendering no hits and just one walk while striking out five batters.
Berndes was pleased with his pitching staff’s efforts all morning.
“They’re pretty darn good. They work hard, but we have some great pitchers,” he said.
While Gieger controlled the game in the circle, Sofia Mujica busted the game open for her team in the top of the second inning.
Mujica stepped up to the plate with two runners on base and drove both of them in with her 2-RBI double to extend Power Surge’s lead to 6-0 early in the game.
Mujica was really pleased with how her team started the tournament.
“It was pretty good,” she said. “It was nice to see how together we are and how we trust each other. Even if we do make a bad mistake, we know our team has our back.”
Gieger sealed the win, driving in the final two runs of the game on a hard hit single in the top of the third inning.
Andrea Delatrinidad believes her team can make a mark this weekend if they continue to play like they did this morning.
“We were just relaxed. We hit the ball hard and we worked as a team. If we keep working together, I think we’ll go really far,” she said.
For now, they intend to celebrate their day one success with an evening at the Women’s College World Series.
“We’ve been really looking forward to coming here and meeting new girls, eating different foods, and doing something different than we do on the beach in San Diego,” Berndes said. “We’re going tonight and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Power Surge Berndes will be back in action twice on Sunday to wrap up play in Pool A. Refocused and ready to finish strong in pool play, Mujica is confident in her teammates.
“Now we know what we’re capable of and we have a good future ahead of us,” said Mujica.