Stingers claim fourth place at state tourney

Stingers claim fourth place at state tourney The Vermillion Stingers closed out their summer softball season by earning a fourth place trophy in the â�?�?Aâ�? division of the 16 and under competition at the South Dakota state softball tournament held in Sioux Falls on July 18-20.�? The Stingersâ�?�? final won-loss record for the 2008 season was 19-16. Game 1: Stingers 2 South Dakota Fusion 3�?  The Stingers opened the tournament on Friday afternoon with a heartbreaking loss to the Fusion.�? The Fusion plated two runs with two outs in their final at bat to steal the victory.�? Offensively, the Stingers were led by Donica Crichton and Ashley Ouellette who each had one hit and one RBI.�?  Bri Brinkman and Jenny Bye each had one hit and one run scored. Chelsea Houska collected the only other hit in the contest. Bye pitched a good game for the Stingers, giving up three earned runs and six hits in the seven inning contest while striking out eight Fusion batters and allowing two walks. Game 2: Stingers 4 Rapid City Flames 1�?  The second game of the tournament began on Saturday afternoon, but was delayed after just one inning of play and resumed on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. due to heavy rains in the Sioux Falls area.�?  The Flames had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Saturday, but were blanked the rest of the seven inning contest on Sunday by the stellar pitching of Bye and the solid Stingers defense.�?  Bye faced just 23 batters, allowing only one hit and one walk while striking out 10 Flamesâ�?�? hitters. Ouellette led the offensive attack, slapping two hits and collecting two RBIâ�?�?s.�? Houska also collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly that saw pinch runner Lizzy Bye race home on a fly ball to the shortstop.�?  Crichton scored two runs in the contest and picked up one hit. Megan Chickering picked up the remaining Stingersâ�?�? hit in the game. Game 3 Stingers 3 Sioux Falls Diamonds 2�?  Pitching and defense continued to be the winning formula as Lizzy Bye toed the rubber for the Stingers. She pitched 4 2/3 innings of the five inning contest before handing the ball to older sister Jenny to claim the final out. Lizzy allowed two earned runs on just five hits while allowing no walks and striking out one Diamond hitter.�? �?  Lizzy also helped herself at the plate, collecting one hit and one RBI. Erica Johnson filled the stat sheet offensively by collecting two hits, scoring one run as well as driving in one.�? Ouellette also collected a single as well as scoring a run for the winners and Ali Truhe laced a double to help the cause.�?  Pinch runner Sami Girard scored a run after the Truhe double. Game 4 Stingers 2 South Dakota Fusion 0�?  The fourth game of the tournament provided the Stingers with a chance at revenge as they continued to climb their way out of the loserâ�?�?s side of the double elimination bracket. Jenny Bye continued her dominant ways in the pitcherâ�?�?s circle, this time twirling a no-hitter in the four inning contest cut short by the time limit rules due to Saturdayâ�?�?s rain storms.�?  Two Fusion batters reached base due to Stinger errors, but one was caught stealing by Truhe with a laser throw to second base from her catcherâ�?�?s position.�?  Bye struck out seven batters in the contest and walked one.�?  The Stingers mustered just enough offense to plate two runs, one scored by Houska and the other by Ouellette. Molly LeCates had one hit and one RBI for the winners, while Johnson continued her hot hitting streak with two more hits and one RBI.�?  Crichton, Truhe and Houska collected the remaining hits in the contest. Game 5 Stingers 0 Yankton Fury 1�?  The Stingers were eliminated from the tournament in the third/fourth place game by a familiar opponent, the Fury from Yankton. Offensively, the Stinger bats went mostly silent, with a single each by Brinkman, Chickering and Johnson being the only damage done.�?  Jenny Bye pitched another great game, allowing only two hits while striking out five and allowing four free passes.�?  The Yankton cause was helped greatly by three uncharacteristic Stinger errors.�?  The only Fury run was scored in the third inning of the contest after the first two batters reached base via Stinger miscues. The Stingers mounted their only scoring threat in the final inning, moving runners to second and third with two outs, but could not come up with the timely hit to win the contest. â�?�?I told the girls after the final game that they should be very proud of themselves.�?  One trait that this team has shown over and over again is that they will not quit,â�? said coach Dave Chickering. â�?�?I was anxious to see how they would react after Saturdayâ�?�?s games were rained out.�? They had to get up really early on Sunday and we were already behind when the game resumed.�? It would have been easy to give up, but they didnâ�?�?t do that and battled all the way back to earn fourth place by winning three games in succession. â�?�?Offensively we struggled a little bit all year and this tournament was no exception. I thought Ashley (Ouellette) and Erica (Johnson) both had a good offensive output over the five games,â�? he said. â�?�?Pitching and defense has been our strong suit all year and it showed again.�?  Fastpitch softball starts with the pitcher and catcher and we are lucky to have a combination like Jenny (Bye) and Ali (Truhe). They work so well together that itâ�?�?s fun to watch. I thought Jenny just pitched an outstanding tournament, allowing a total of only�? four earned runs in the four games that she pitched.�?  â�?�?Defensively, Donica (Crichton) and Bri (Brinkman) made several good plays on the infield and Megan (Chickering), Molly (LeCates) and Erica (Johnson) have been solid all year in the outfield. â�?�?All in all, I am happy for the girls and what they accomplished this year. We battled through our fair share of�?  injuries and struggled to find times to get all the girls together for practices, but I always knew that when the girls went on the field for games that they would give it 100 percent,â�? Chickering said.

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