Lowcountry Lightning 12U earns Diamond Wars Championship | Sports | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | May 25, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: May 24, 2017 at 2:10 pm
By CINDY CROSBY
The Lowcountry Lightning 12U softball team, coached by Tiger Martin, had a solid spring season before kicking off its summer campaign this past weekend in the 6th Annual USSSA Spring In2 Summer Classic held in Lexington. During the spring campaign, the Lightning participated in three tournaments, picking up a championship, along with second and fourth place finishes.
In the Spring In2 Summer Class, the Lightning went 3-2 on the weekend, outscoring their opponents 38-22. They picked up a shutout over the Aiken Warhorses (11-0), and wins against the Lady Rebels (11-3) and The Fire 05 (8-6), while recording losses against DeMarini TEAM Select (2-1) and Carolina Aftershock (11-7).
Earlier this spring in the Sumter County Showdown, the Lightning tallied a 4-2 record in the tournament, including a 7-5 win over a strong Dirt Dawg Mizuno Team from Augusta. They came up just short in the championship game, losing to the Dillon Diamondbacks via walk-off 4-3.
Trailing 3-0 in the third, Haley Bootle’s 2-RBI single to right center scored Elaney Sanders and Shandi Brown to bring the Lightning within one run. Bootle then scored on a fielder’s choice by Taylor Tomedolskey to tie the game. The Diamondbacks plated the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth with two outs on an RBI single.
“Aaliyah Williams pitched a great game and was backed up with some outstanding defense from Brown and Amberly Way,” said Martin. “They hauled in two deep fly ***** that would have put the game out of reach early. These are the type games we want to play because teachable moments happen in close games. The Diamondback are one of, if not the best team, in the state. I am very proud of the girls for the heart they showed.”
On April 22, the Lightning took fourth place in the WFC April Shootout held in Columbia. The Lightning lost 4-3 to the North Augusta Explosion in pool play, but bounced back with wins over the SC Jets (5-2) and the Carolina Elite (14-1). In bracket play, the Lightning re-matched the Explosion and held them scoreless through two innings. In the bottom of the third, Amber Way tripled and scored on an RBI single by Makayla Chisolm. Mackenzie Pellum then knocked in Chisolm and Devin Long added a RBI single to give the Lightning a 3-2 lead. A combination of walks and errors in the top of the fourth, led to a five-run rally for the Explosion and a final score of 7-4.
In the loser’s bracket, they faced the Carolina Diamondbacks and earned a 15-6 win. Bootle doubled to start a four-run rally in the first and the bats stayed hot throughout as Makayla Voss, Tomedolskey, Shandi Brown, Aaliyah Williams all had doubles in the win.
Hoping the third time would be the charm against the Explosion, the Lightning went down 4-0 early. They then rebounded to take a 7-4 lead in the second on hits by Becca Martin, Chisolm, Pellum and Brown. “As was the trend versus the Explosion, we gave it all back and then some,” said Martin. “We walked the first two batters and committed some untimely errors to fall into a 10-7 hole that ended up being the final.”
In the Walterboro Diamond Wars Championship held April 29 at the ACE Basin Sports complex, the Lightning notched 7-2 and 8-5 pool game victories, before capturing the championship with a 6-1 record. In bracket play, they lost 10-2 against the Lowcountry Force, after giving up six runs on a single hit in the bottom of the third. Then they easily defeated the Killer Bees, 13-1.
The Lightning then faced its younger 12U team, Lowcountry Lightning–Voss, where Elaney Sanders earned the 13-0 win in the circle. “She was brilliant, allowing just three base runners via walks in the no-hitter,” said Martin. “The defense was solid behind her.”
In the championship, the Lightning rematched with the Force. Falling behind 9-0 after two innings, Martin’s team made a valiant come back in a 19-10 win, forcing a decision game. They shut out the Force 6-0 in the rubber game and earned the 12U tournament title.
Facing a six-run deficit in the last inning, the Lightning offense exploded in the most improbable comeback. Tomedolskey, Pellum, Sanders and Chisolm recorded hits, along with back-to-back doubles by Bootle and Way. Becca Martin provided a triple, which cut the lead to two runs.
The defensive highlight came from Makenzie Pellum. “Lil’ Pellum made her presence felt again as she cut off a base hit headed to the right center gap,” said Martin. “She held the batter to a single which was, simply put, a game saver.
“It was the largest comeback for us in five years of travel ball,” said Martin. “Our coaching staff was obviously thrilled with the heart the girls showed. It is always special to get a win at ACE Basin Complex, our home park, in front of family and friends. We’ve got a lot of work yet to do, though. We must clean up the walks and errors that just can’t happen if we want to win against the best teams in the state.”
The Lightning’s roster includes: Haley Bootle, Shandi Brown, Becca Martin, Mackenzie Pellum, Makayla Chisolm, Taylor Tomedolskey, Elaney Sanders (Orangeburg), Amberly Way (Summerton) and Aaliyah Williams (Pooler, Ga). Assistant coaches are Mark Tomedolskey and Richie Way.