Stingers finish 17th at AFA B Nationals, earn fourth place at state tournament

Stingers finish 17th at AFA B Nationals, earn fourth place at state tournament
The Vermillion Stingers 14 & Under fastpitch softball team recently completed its season with a 40-23 record which featured competition against many of the best teams in the Midwest from seven different states.

AFA B Nationals

The Stingers traveled to Blue Springs, MO for the week-long AFA B Nationals which featured a 74-team field of top teams from throughout the Midwest. Vermillion's 6-3 record placed them in a tie for 17th place.

"To get six wins in a tournament like this was really a big accomplishment for the girls," said head coach Matt Brandhagen. "You have to play almost flawless softball to win these games." It's a lot of fun to play teams from other states and see how we match up."

Following are the game highlights from the AFA B Nationals:

Stingers – 5 vs. Kirksville, MO Katz – 2 (pool play)

The Stingers opened the tournament with a three-run victory over a Kirksville, MO team that went on to eventually finish fifth in the tournament. Jenny Bye got the pitching win by allowing only two hits and striking out nine in the six-inning game.

Vermillion started the scoring in the third inning when Donica Crichton, Ashley Ouellette and Ali Truhe all hit singles. Brianna Brinkman followed them with a base-clearing triple. The Stingers scored two more in the fourth when Crichton, Chelsea Houska, Ouellette and Bye started the inning with four straight hits.

Stingers – 5 vs. Olathe, KS Flames – 2 (pool play)

The Stingers got their second win as Jenny Bye struck out four, while spacing out five Olathe hits and relying on solid defense in the six-inning game.

Vermillion was down 2-0 in the fifth inning when Lindsay Robinette started a Stinger rally by lining a single to left. Molly LeCates followed with a walk and then Donica Crichton, Chelsea Houska and Ashley Ouellette hit consecutive singles. All five runners went on to score.

Also recording hits were Bethany Prinsen, Bye, and LeCates.

Stingers – 0 vs. Little Axe, OK – 5 (pool play)

The Stingers played the eventual tournament runner-up in their last pool play game. Jenny Bye took the pitching loss by giving up five hits and striking out four.

Recording base hits for Vermillion was Chelsea Houska, Ali Truhe, Jana Bye, Lindsay Robinette and Ashley Ouellette.

Stingers – 7 vs. Kansas City Extreme – 0

Vermillion opened elimination play with an unusual twist. The competition from Kansas City misread the 74-team double elimination bracket and miss their 8 a.m. game time. Tournament officials then were forced to award the Stingers a 7-0 victory by forfeit.

Stingers – 0 vs. Duluth, MN Aerials – 8

The Stingers advanced into the second round where they played the eventual national champion Duluth, MN Aerials. Vermillion was down 2-0 heading into the third inning when the Aerials strung together seven hits for six runs. Jenny Bye took the loss, while Brianna Brinkman pitched a scoreless last inning.

Brinkman went 2-for-2 at the plate and got the Stingers' only hits. Duluth posted a perfect 10-0 record during the tournament with an extra-inning victory over the Little Axe Magic in the championship game.

Stingers – 9 vs. Oklahoma Action – 1

After their loss to Duluth, the Stingers started their trek through the losers bracket with an eight-run win over the Oklahoma Action. Jenny Bye went the distance striking out five while allowing only three hits.

Offensively the Stingers started the game with six of the first seven batters getting base hits and scoring six runs. Brianna Brinkman and Jana Bye each had two hits. Also recording base hits were Donica Crichton, Chelsea Houska, Ashley Ouellette, Jenny Bye, and Erica Johnson.

Stingers – 3 vs. Oklahoma Invasion – 1

Vermillion recorded a two-run victory over the Oklahoma Invasion as Jenny Bye held the opponents to one run on five hits while striking out seven.

Jenny Bye, Chelsea Houska and Molly LeCates each had two hits, while Donica Crichton, Ashley Ouellette, and Jana Bye also had base hits.

Stingers – 7 vs. Jefferson City Missouri – 6

Vermillion won their sixth game of the tournament in exciting style as Molly LeCates singled home Ali Truhe for the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Stingers were down 6-2 heading into the fifth inning, when they had a four-run rally to tie the game. Recording two hits each were Ashley Ouellette, Kayla Munger and Jenny Bye. Also recording hits were Donica Crichton, Ali Truhe and Molly LeCates.

Jenny Bye earned her sixth pitching victory of the tournament with six strikeouts.

Stingers – 0 vs. Oklahoma Sluggers – 7

The Stingers were eliminated from the tournament after their ninth game as they fell to the Oklahoma Sluggers. Jenny Bye and Brianna Brinkman split the pitching duties with Bye taking the loss.

Jana Bye, Jenny Bye, Ali Truhe and Ashley Ouellette each had two hits. Also recording a base hit was Brianna Brinkman.

After the Stingers were eliminated from tournament play the girls attended a Kansas City Royals vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball game and went to Worlds of Fun amusement park before traveling home.

South Dakota ASA State Tournament

The Vermillion Stingers finished recorded three wins for a fourth place finish at the state tournament held in Sioux Falls July 14, 15 and 16.

Stingers – 1 vs. Rapid City Flames Blue – 2

Vermillion suffered a one-run loss in their opening game to one of Rapid City's top teams. Jenny Bye pitched was dominate most of the game striking out seven, while allowing only two hits – both of which came in the second inning when Rapid City scored their only runs.

The Stingers only run came in the fifth inning when Donica Crichton lead off with a single and later scored on another single by Ali Truhe. Vermillion could not push across another run as they left nine on base with the Flames Blue playing flawless defensive.

Stingers – 12 vs. Rapid City Boltz – 3

The Stingers bounced back with a strong performance in defeating the Boltz by nine runs in a four inning game. Jenny Bye got the pitching win by scattering eight hits and striking out five.

Ali Truhe and Jana Bye each had two hits and Vermillion capitalized on 10 walks to pace the offense. Lindsay Robinette and Brianna Brinkman also got hits for the Stingers.

Stingers – 5 vs. Sioux Falls BK Queens – 0

Jenny Bye pitched a complete game shut-out and knocked a 2-run homer over the fence to key a 5-run sixth inning giving the Stingers their second tournament victory.

Erica Johnson hadVermillion's only hit before the sixth inning when she recorded her second hit to lead off the inning. Chelsea Houska singled to drive in Johnson and Ashley Ouellette followed with another single before Bye's home run. Ali Truhe and Jana Bye also recorded hits in the sixth inning rally.

Jenny Bye struck out seven and allowed only two hits in the seven inning game.

Stingers – 7 vs. Brandon Speed – 0

The Stingers got their third win of the tournament by seven runs in the first three innings as Jenny Bye held Brandon scoreless striking out 10 and scattering six hits.

Leading the offense were Ali Truhe, 4-for-4; Donica Crichton, 3-for-4; and Jana Bye, 2-for-3. Also recording hits were Chelsea Houska, Jenny Bye, and Molly LeCates.

Stingers – 2 vs. Rapid City Flames Blue – 6

Vermillion was eliminated from the tournament after their second loss to the Flames Blue team.

The Stingers managed four hits. Chelsea Houska and Jenny Bye both singled in the fourth and went on to score the only two runs. Ali Truhe and Jana Bye got the other Vermillion hits. Jenny Bye struck out 11 in the loss.

Coaches for the Stingers this summer were Matt Brandhagen and Shelly Bye.

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