The Northwoods Fastpitch softball teams, a co-op of players from several Northwoods area schools, including Lakeland, Rhinelander and Northland Pines, concluded their summer schedule this past weekend during tournament play in Appleton where they faced tough competition and crazy weather over the weekend.
The 12U wrapped up play with a 1-0 loss on Sunday. The 14U took a defeat early Sunday morning losing 12-0.
The 16U played two games on Saturday, taking tough losses 9-0 and a rain-shortened 3-2 loss.
After two losses last Friday, the 16U team was back on Saturday with pool play against the Wisconsin Scorpions. Starting pitcher was Anna Schilling.
In the top of the second, Northwoods had a runner on with a leadoff walk by Lucy Lurvey. Tatum Morris then moved her over with a sacrifice bunt, but no runners scored when the next two batters struck out.
In the bottom of the second, the Scorpions had a single and sacrifice bunt as well. Schilling managed to get out of the inning when she induced a groundout.
The third inning was where Northwoods unraveled. Two singles and a walk scored two runs and it was 2-0. A couple of missed catches put more runners on. That set up another two-run single for the Scorpions and a 5-0 lead.
Later in the inning, there was a fun moment for the Northwoods that got overturned. On a double to center field, Camille Quade threw it to shortstop Lurvey who turned and threw it to catcher Naomi Hamerla to get the runner out at home.
But because of interference, the runner was deemed safe. The Scorpions were up 8-0. In total, nine runs scored in the inning.
Northwoods got their best rally going in the top of the fifth with a lead-off walk by Lurvey. Then, Morris singled to put runners on first and second. A double play line out put a dent in the rally and the Scorpions eventually won 9-0.
“That’s a really good team we played. We didn’t have a lot for bats, so its always tough to win a game when you don’t score a run,” 16U coach Jason Morris explained. “Out of four innings off offense for them we held them scoreless for three of them.”
The start of bracket play featured a rematch against New London, who Northwoods had lost to in pool play Friday.
Quade singled to lead off the first as Northwoods was the road team again. Two batters later, Hamerla doubled and the first run of the game was scored.
New London answered back and scored two runs of their own in the bottom of the first as the game was off and running. New London led 2-1.
“These girls should hold their head high,” Morris said. “Every team they played they hung with for a period of time.”
In the top of the fourth, Lurvey hit a triple to start the rally, only down one run. Kelty Neff followed that up with an RBI single and the game was tied 2-2. Northwoods had a chance to score more, but Tatum Morris stranded runners on second and third.
After leaving runners on base, Tatum Morris returned to the mound. In the fifth, New London took advantage of a Northwoods’ error and singled home a run to take the lead 3-2.
Northwoods had one more chance in the top of the sixth. With Quade up to the plate, a huge flash of lightning lit up the darkened sky and play was suspended.
Because of the pouring rain and wet fields, all games were canceled for the rest of the day and Northwoods lost their game to New London by a score of 3-2.
“At the end of the day, I couldn’t be prouder of these girls to come tougher as group from other schools and blend together,” coach Morris said. “They did really well at the Calumet tournament, they did really well at the Pines tournament and to come here and get this experience has been outstanding.”
Because of bad weather on Saturday, games on Sunday morning were limited to 45 minutes. After going 3-1, the 12U played Xplosion UP in bracket play and took a close 1-0 loss. But that didn’t take away from a tremendous summer.
“We won a few more games this year, but what I really enjoyed about this year was the kids and families,” 12U coach Jacob Schueller said. “We’ve got a great group and have absolutely none of the negativity that you often hear about in youth sports. I told them how proud I was to coach em and how much I enjoy them as people.”
Saylor Timmerman finished the year as the team’s defensive MVP and Carley Huelskamp was the team’s offensive MVP.
“(Saylor) is an absolute shut-down pitcher,” Schueller said. “(Carley) can flat out hit. We don’t keep official stats, but I’d guess her batting average was well over .500.”
The 14U played Fondy Fusion in bracket play on Sunday morning. Unfortunately things did not go their way and they lost 12-0. Because the first inning took so long, Northwoods only had three at-bats in the game. They finished the tournament with a 2-3 record.
“It just didn’t turn out on Sunday,” 14U coach DJ DeMeyer said. “We gave them eight outs.”
But overall it was still a successful season that included lots of learning and team chemistry.
“It happened in Houghton, Mich.,” DeMeyer said. “We started hitting the ball, team chemistry was there, it was our best tournament, girls were having a lot of fun and coming tighter as a unit. Overall, very impressed on the improvement of all the players.”
Now that the summer was in the books and the season was over, it was time to reflect on what was accomplished throughout the summer.
“We wanted to have it to where it was a good experience for getting some friendships, getting some new bonds,” Morris said. “It was a learning experience, hopefully growing as players and as young ladies and I think we accomplished that.”
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]