Vermillion Blaze finish third in Sioux Empire Fastpitch League Tournament The Vermillion Blaze finished third in the 12 & Under division at the Sioux Empire Fastpitch Softball Association League Tournament held July 10 and 11 in Sioux Falls.
The Blaze had an outstanding Saturday going 3-0 against three of the top teams in the league and advancing to the semi-finals.
The Blaze defeated the Attack 8-6 in their opening game. Jenny Bye got the win with the help of 11 defensive putouts and four strikeouts. Donica Crichton and Chelsea Houska each had two hits. Also recording base hits were Bye, Brianna Brinkman, Ashley Ouellette, Kayla Munger and Molly LeCates.
In the second game, the Blaze out-slugged Montrose Body Shop 11-10. Brinkman was the winning pitcher and led the offensive with a first-inning home run that drove in three runs. She also drove in the winning run with a triple in the bottom of the last inning. Houska had a triple and scored twice. Also scoring twice were Bye and Morgan Erickson.
The Blaze then defeated the Sparkx 6-4 in their third game of the day. Houska was the winning pitcher with six strike outs. Bye led the offense going 2 for 2 and scoring twice. Crichton also had two hits. Other players recording base hits were Houska, Brinkman, Ouellette, Munger and Erickson. Houska, Ouellette, Erickson and Megan Bottolfson each scored once.
On Sunday the Blaze suffered their first lost to the Brandon Speed 5-3. The Speed scored four runs in the first inning capitalizing on three hits, three walks and an error to take an early lead. The Blaze answered with three runs of their own in the first inning on a three-run homer by Houska.
The rest of the game featured outstanding pitching and defense as only one other run was scored in the seven-inning match-up. Bye stuck out six in the losing effort. Bye, Crichton Brinkman and Munger each had one hit in the contest.
The Blaze were then eliminated from the tournament suffering a 10-2 loss to the Attack, managing only one hit.
The Blaze will by playing in the state tournament in Sioux Falls July 16, 17 and 18 at Sherman Park in Sioux Falls. Their record heading into the tournament is 18-13.