Skyhawks fall 1-0 in finals
HUTCHINSON The Sunflower Skyhawks 18-and-under team guarded home plate with their lives this weekend, allowing only two runs in five games. Yet, the team was unable to score in the championship game and lost a heartbreaker to the Kansas City Thrill 1-0.
During the Salt City Shoot-out the Skyhawks went 4-1 and outscored their opponents 16-2. With a win against the Thrill the Skyhawks would have qualified for the USSSA World Series.
"It had to be the best defensive performance I've seen over a whole tournament," said coach Bob Martin. "The last loss was very disappointing. We had our chance at the end of the game but just couldn't get it done."
The championship game was scoreless through six innings. In the top of the seventh three singles by Kristin Wessel, Deanna Barden and Satinne Maring loaded the bases with no outs. The Skyhawks were unable to convert with a ground out, strike out and then a pop out.
The Thrill followed the failed Skyhawk rally by placing two runners on base with a walk and a single. The runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. The runner on third scored the winning run by beating Mary Martin's throw to home on a groundout. She eluded Wessel's tag to win the game for the Thrill.
The run was the only earned run given up by Maring in the 38 innings she pitched in the tournament. Her pitching line for the tourney was 38 innings pitched, 20 hits, 25 strike outs, 1 earned run and a 4-1 record.
"Maring pitched an outstanding tournament," said coach Martin. "The defense behind her was just marvelous. To a girl, they just made play after play."
The Skyhawks opened the tournament with a 3-0 victory over the KC Aces. They scored once in the third and added two insurance runs in the sixth. Consecutive singles by Suzie Weege, Katie Martin and Jill Dorsey produced the run in the third. In the sixth, singles by Barden and Maring and a walk to M. Martin loaded the bases. Barden scored on a passed ball and Maring crossed home after a ground out.
The offense came alive in the second game with an 8-0 win over the Wichita Elite. Maring and M. Martin started the scoring in the second, as both came home on groundouts. Two more runs were added in the third with a two-out single by Barden that scored both Weege and K. Martin. The run rule came into affect in the sixth as Tarin Troth, Weege and K. Martin all had RBI singles to end the game.
Game number three for the Skyhawks was an extra inning thriller that ended in the eighth with a 1-0 victory over the Hutch Clubbers. The Skyhawks stopped scoring threats in the first, fourth and sixth innings. The defense was needed, as the team was no-hit until the sixth inning when Barden had the team's first hit. In the eighth inning the Clubbers loaded up the bases with no outs and the next batter lined out to Barden at second and she doubled off the baserunner at third. The following batter grounded out to end the Clubbers' rally. In the bottom of the eighth Maring walked and Patton and Troth reached with bunts to load up the bases with two outs. K. Martin walked on a 3-2 count forcing in the winning run.
In the semifinal the Skyhawks surrendered their first run of the tournament, but scored four of their own to defeat the Colorado Most Wanted 4-1. Dorsey gave her team the lead in the top of the first with a RBI single scoring Weege. The Most Wanted came back with a run of their own in the bottom of the first, scoring on a two out throwing error. The Skyhawks took the lead in the third when K. Martin tripled to score Troth and Dorsey singled home Martin. They added one more run in the fifth when Weege scored on a groundout by Dorsey. Both Martin and Dorsey led the way offensively with two hits. Maring won her fourth straight, striking out five and giving up only three hits.
After the win over the team from Denver, the team was one game from qualifying for the World Series. But that was not to be, as they suffered their second straight 1-0 loss in a championship game.
Offensive stars of the weekend were Weege, Barden and K. Martin who each had six hits for the Skyhawks. Weege scored five runs while Martin and Barden each had three RBIs.
The Skyhawks will compete in the Flint Hills Wind Invitational this weekend.
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