Oklahoma City--- A late rally by the Worth Firecrackers propelled them to their first ever ASA Gold 18-under National Fastpitch Championship Sunday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The Firecrackers from Huntington Beach, Calif. beat the 2006 champion OC Batbusters (Santa Ana, Calif.) 5-4. The game was a rematch from last year’s championship game.
The Worth Firecrackers had a difficult time initially slowing down the offense of the Batbusters. In the first inning, the Batbusters had the bases loaded with three outs but failed to score a run.
The situation repeated itself in the fourth inning for the Batbusters. With the bases loaded, Monica Harrison (Garden Grove, Calif.) blasted a ball over the left field fence for a grand slam and the first home run of the tournament for the Batbusters.
“We were down 4-0 and all we wanted to do was to get the tying run across the plate,” said Tony Rico, the head coach of the Firecrackers. “This allowed the players to maintain focus and we were lucky things went our way.”
Things started to go the Firecrackers way in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, Kristen Arriola from Garden Grove, Calif. hit an RBI single to centerfield to put the Firecrackers on the board. That set up Wendy Trott (Fountain Valley, Calif.), who hit a bases-clearing double down the left-field line to tie the game at 4-4.
In the top of the seventh, the Batbusters had a chance to respond. With the bases loaded, Harrison walked up to the plate with a chance to hit her second grand slam of the tournament. She swung at the first pitch and fouled out to third base.
“We weren’t going to change the situation because of a mistake we had made earlier,” Rico said. “We were peaceful going into the final inning.”
The Batbusters allowed the first two runners to reach in the bottom of the seventh before allowing the bases to become loaded. On a 3-2 pitch Perelini Koria (Gardena, Calif.) hit a weak grounder to shortstop, allowing the winning run to cross the plate.
“We wouldn’t have been here this year without the success of the Batbusters last year, forcing us to push in the offseason to get here today,” Rico said.
Megan Lagenfeld (Bakersfield, Calif.) gathered the win, going 6-0 in the tournament. She finished the game two strikeouts and four walks. Donna Kerr gathered her lone loss of the tournament, going 5-1 in the tournament.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 84 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 220,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit www.asasoftball.com.
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