TOMAHAWK — Before a nasty storm rolled through the area, the Northwoods Fastpitch 12U team — a co-op mainly consisting of players from Lakeland, Rhinelander and Northland Pines — played a tournament in Tomahawk last weekend.
Their first game came against Wausau on Friday afternoon, taking a 9-4 loss. Because of the bad weather all pool games for Saturday were cancelled.
On Sunday, they started bracket play with a 7-3 win against Everest. Later that day, they lost 4-3 to Tomahawk in the semifinals.
Not wasting any time, Northwoods came out swinging in the first inning. Ali Timmerman started with a single and scored a run.
Leah Jamison followed that up with a single of her own stole two bases, and came around to score and make it 2-0 Northwoods in the first.
Saylor Timmerman started in the circle for Northwoods. In the first inning, she went one-two-three and struck out the side. In the second inning she also faced the minimum with two strikeouts.
“Her natural abilities which allow her to throw with great velocity make her so good,” coach Jacob Schueller explained. “She’s tall, long and strong and she gets those levers going and the ball gets on hitters really fast for a 12U pitcher.”
Not much happened until the bottom of the fourth inning came around. Saylor Timmerman was out of the game and new pitcher Jamison was in.
The first two batters for Wausau reached base on errors. A couple wild pitches later, Wausau had a 3-2 lead. Then there was a steal of home amidst some confusion in the Northwoods’ infield. The score was 4-2 Wausau.
“We made four mistakes. Two of them were physical — errant throws to first base after fielding a ground ball,” Schueller said. “The others were mental — a miscommunication on a pick play and another on an infield pop fly. Those are the ones that get a coach fired up.”
Later in the inning there was an RBI triple by Wausau to put the score to 6-2 in their favor, but Northwoods did have a nice relay started by Ali Timmerman and threw a runner out at home.
Two more runs scored for Wausau and they led the game 8-2.
There was a great response in the fifth by Northwoods. Laney Haenel walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Landry Lenz then singled before Ali Timmerman walked to put runners on second and third.
Jamison put the ball in play and scored a run on an RBI groundout cutting the score in half. Wausau led the game 8-4.
“These kids never throw in the towel — they always think we can win no matter who we’re playing or the game situation,” Schueller said. “They are great teammates to one another and always give max effort and attitude.”
Saylor Timmerman came back in to pitch the fifth and she gave up one run on a wild pitch turning the score to 9-4.
Seeing success on the mound, Saylor Timmerman was back to start the game against Everest.
“(Saylor) was her usual dominant self,” Schueller said.
Much of their success offensively came from smart base running and execution.
“We bunted and ran bases very well to manufacture our seven runs,” Schueller explained.
Northwoods was ahead the whole game, winning 3-1 when they entered their final inning. Tomahawk scored the game tying run with two outs on a wild pitch. The score was 3-3.
Later, a discrepancy in the strike zone caused a bit of confusion for Saylor Timmerman. One more wild pitch caused the game-winning run to score and a tough 4-3 loss.
“We thought we had strike three to go into extras, but the strike zone seemed to get a little smaller for Saylor in the final inning,” Schueller said. “I think that got in her head a bit and they ended up scoring the winning run.”
When it comes to sports, putting the past behind you is important as you learn from your experiences, and that is what Northwoods did.
“It was a tough loss but a good learning experience for (Saylor) and the team regarding overcoming adversity,” Schueller said.
Northwoods’ 14U team also competed in the tournament, reaching the semifinals in its bracket. Northwoods beat Wausau Gold 6-1 Friday and Wausau East 9-5 Sunday in pool play. Northwoods lost to Marshfield Orange 7-5 in the semifinals Sunday afternoon.
Northwoods will field teams in the 12U, 14U and 16U divisions in a tournament in Appleton Aug. 2-4.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]