Lightning 12U wins Spring Fling | Sports | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | April 22, 2016 5:00 am
Last Updated: April 20, 2016 at 2:09 pm
By CINDY CROSBY
In their first outing of the year, the Lowcountry Lightning 12U went undefeated to capture the championship in the WFC Spring Fling held at ACE Basin Sports Complex the weekend of April 9-10. With 10 teams in the single elimination tournament, the Lightning eliminated half the competition on the way to the championship.
According to Coach Tiger Martin, the Lightning exceeded his expectations. “We have not had a single full team practice this year,” said Martin. “Most of our girls are playing school ball, so we’ve avoided too many practices. I think we have an excellent roster this year, but coming into the tournament untested, I wasn’t sure how we’d gel. The girls performed well on both sides of the ball, and we attribute that to the softball programs at Colleton County, Colleton Prep, Andrew Jackson and Berkeley High School. They came in well-prepared and ready to play.”
The Lightning earned a win and then tied during drop-dead pool play. In game one of brackets, they defeated the Fire 12-0. Whitley Weathers faced six batters in the circle, earning six K’s, before giving way to Muriel Jowers in relief. Leading the offensive was Karson Hiott, who ignited a two-out rally in the first to plate five runs. Haley Bootle and Elaney Sanders provided multiple hits in the game.
Weathers earned another win in the circle against the S.C. Riptide. She allowed one hit in the first two innings. Taylor Tomedolskey, Julie Bryan and Avery Peek each had extra base hits in the 10-1 win.
In a 6-0 win over the Carolina Mojo in game three, the Lightning relied on a strong defensive effort to get the shutout. The Mojo led off with a single and a double, but outfielder Avery Peek kept the damage to a minimum with a throw to home, holding the runners. Weathers got a strikeout and a ground ball to close out the inning. The Lightning offense came alive in the bottom of the third when Peek singled, followed by a double by Bridges and a Taylor Tomedolskey two-RBI single. Hiott and Bootle also singled in the inning.
Martin cited the defensive effort of his players in the game. “In the fourth inning, Bootle charged a bunt so aggressively from third base, she almost tagged the batter herself,” he said. “Instead, she got the out to first baseman Jowers, who then fired back to Tomedolskey at third, catching the runner advancing. It was a perfectly executed play. Later in the game, Hiott caught a line drive and fired to first to double-off a runner. The defensive execution was exceptional. You don’t shut out that team 6-0 without playing some good ball.”
Against the Palmetto Power, it was a scoreless ballgame until the bottom of the second when Becca Martin hit a standup triple to right field and then crossed home plate on a single by Julie Bryan. The Power plated three runs in the top of the third, but the Lightning had an answer in Jowers, who narrowed the lead with a solo homerun to center.
In a back-and-forth game, the score was tied at the bottom of the sixth. “Bootle’s leadoff walk in the bottom set off a bizarre chain of events,” said Martin. “She made her way to third on a steal and a fielder’s choice. The Power then opted to walk the bases loaded, which sounds much easier than it proved to be. Following a walk by Sanders, Becca Martin watched the third pitch sail over the catcher’s head, allowing Bootle to steal home and send us to the championship game.”
The Lightning faced the Palmetto Blazers for the championship in a rematch of the 2-2 tie during pool play. Weathers went to work in the circle for the Lightning, earning the 5-1 win. “The Blazers were able to put the ball in play against us, but our defense remained solid,” said Martin. “She was able to get the timely strikeouts when needed.”
Leading the offensive effort was Hiott, Bootle, Weathers, Martin, Peek and Tomedolskey. “We are obviously very proud of the girls,” said Martin. “The whole team played very sound ball this weekend. We are lucky to have two great pitchers in Whitley and Muriel, but this weekend was about the whole team — each and every player contributed to the effort. We were so happy to be able to play in front of so many family and friends here in our hometown.”
The Lowcountry Lightning 12U is coached by Martin, Mark Tomedolskey, Clark Hiott and Andy Weathers.