Skyhawks third in World Series
HUTCHINSON Wonderful was the key word as the Sunflower Skyhawks 18-and-under squad finished third in the U.S.S.S.A. World Series here last week and also brought home the sportsmanship trophy.
"It was a wonderful experience for our young ladies," said coach Bob Martin. "We were a little short handed coming into the tournament, so some of the younger Skyhawks were able to play with us. It was exciting to see them all come together and play well."
The tournament started on Aug. 1 and the Skyhawks were the host team, based on their state tournament championship. After the pre-tourney fan fare was over, it was time to take the field.
The Skyhawks won their first game in pool play, 6-1 over Maritime (Oregon), lost 6-2 to the Berthoud (Colo.) Blaze and beat the Kearney (Neb.) Flames 9-2. Then it was time for the double-elimination portion of the tourney.
The Hawks opened tourney play Thursday with a 9-1 loss to the Lady Power (Ark.) to fall into the loser's bracket. They then beat the Kearney Flames 1-0, the Colorado Expos 4-1 and Maritime 4-0. The string came to an end with a 3-1 loss to the Hutchinson Clubbers which put the Skyhawks in third.
"Except for our first two losses, we played very well," said Martin. "The Blaze team just hit the ball well against us. Against the Lady Power team, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
"The girls bounced back well after the loss in the double-elimination tournament," he said. "We won three straight in the loser's bracket and came close to making the championship."
Leading hitters for the tournament for the Skyhawks were Deanna Barden (13), Jodie Bacon (10), Mary Martin (10) and Katie Martin (9). Satinne Maring pitched all 53 innings, going 5-3 while allowing 42 hits and 14 earned runs, while striking out 36.
Bacon, Maring and Barden were named to the All-World Team and the Skyhawks won the Sportsmanship Award which was voted on by tournament umpires.
"There was a great deal of pride in having three girls make the All-World Team. Jodie Bacon was wonderful in stepping up from the 16-and-under team to make the All-World Team. Barden hit the ball well all tournament and Maring was a real work horse all week," he said. "Even then we still had other girls who could have made the team. It was just a great effort by them all.
"I think it says an awful lot about these young ladies to win the Sportsmanship Award playing in the highly charged competitive atmosphere of this tournament," he said. "We think we have not only skilled athletes, but people of character representing this team and community."
In their first game, a 6-1 win, the Hawks scored twice in the fourth inning on consecutive singles by Kristen Wessel, Barden, M. Martin and Tarin Troth. They scored two more in the fifth with a two-out double by Barden that scored K. Martin and Maring. The other two runs came in the sixth on a single by Kari Garrison, a walk to Bacon, an RBI single by K. Martin and Bacon scoring on a passed ball. Maring had eight strike outs in seven innings.
In the 6-1 loss to the Berthoud Blaze, the Hawks scored their lone run on a single by Barden, two walks and a sacrifice fly by Anna Skaggs. They bounced back with a 9-2 win over the Flames. A five-run seventh inning keyed by a bases-loaded triple by K. Martin paved the way. Barden had four hits; Bacon and K. Martin three; and Wessel had a pair of doubles. Maring struck out six.
That ended pool play and signaled the start of the double-elimination tourney. The Skyhawks got off on the wrong foot there, falling 9-1 to the Lady Rebels. The Hawks' only score came in the second inning when Barden singled, advanced to second on a ground out and scored on a single by Skaggs.
The Skyhawks then responded with their three-straight wins. The 1-0 win over Kearney was highlighted by Maring's shut out performance, allowing just three hits and striking out five. She stranded runners at third base twice with strike outs. The only run came in the fourth inning when Wessel led off with a single, advanced on a sacrifice, moved to third on a single by Maring and scored on a ground out by M. Martin. Wessel ended another threat by picking off a runner at third with her throw to Suzie Weege.
A two-run first inning got the Skyhawks rolling in their 4-1 win over the Expos. It was keyed by a K. Martin triple that scored Bacon. They added two more runs in the third on singles by Bacon and K. Martin, several stolen bases and a ground out by Wessel. Maring gave up just four hits while striking out six.
Maring followed that with another shut-out performance, this one a 4-0 four-hitter. Wessel again played tough defense, picking off three runners at third base. The Skyhawks scored all four runs in the sixth inning with a lead-off single by Wessel, a single by Maring, a two-run single by M. Martin, a double by Garrison and a Weege single.
The season came to an end with a 3-1 loss to the Hutch Clubbers. The lone run came on a double by Garrison and single by Bacon.
That left the Skyhawks a final record of 37-20, which included the third-place finish in the World Series, the U.S.S.S.A. State Title and third straight appearance in the A.S.A. Mid-America Regional.
"It was just a great climax to a great season," said coach Martin.