Vermillion Blaze repeat championship The U-14 Vermillion Blaze traveled to Mitchell to defend their championship title. In the U-14 division there were 21 teams competing. During pool play the first day the Blaze played three games. In the first game, the Blaze took on the Sioux Falls Inferno. Morgan Hueser was the winning pitcher for the Blaze striking out two and allowing only two hits. Offensively the Blaze had an excellent first and fifth inning. Lizzy Bye, Audrey Truhe, Shelby Christopherson, Rachel Mora and Courtney Johnson all had hits helping to win the game 7-4. In the second game, the Blaze shut out Platte 6-0. Bye was the winning pitcher striking out 9 of the 21 batters and allowing only one hit. Sami Girard did an outstanding job behind the plate taking charge of the game. Lexi Regnerus, Tory McCreary and Bye all had hits for the Blaze. In the third game of the day the Blaze unleashed their bats. All the girls on the team had at least one hit out playing the Mitchell Fire and winning the game in three innings 21-0. Allison Mora, Emily McClelland, Beth Szymonski, Regnerus and Bye each scored twice while Girard and Truhe scored three times each. Blaze had the third seating in the A bracket starting Sunday's single elimination tournament. In the first game on Sunday the Blaze faced the Madison Cyclones. The Blaze defense is what won them this game. Szymonski knocked down everything that came her way at third and the team only had one error in the whole game. Offensively Truhe went four for four at the plate and scored two of the five runs. Other Blaze players that had hits were Girard, Bye, Regnerus, Mora, and McClelland. The Blaze prevailed over the Cyclones 5-2. On game two on Sunday the Blaze had to play the Sioux Falls Impact. The Blaze was on top of their game. The team put it all together, hits and defense thrashing the Impact 9-1. Bye was the winning pitcher allowing only one hit. Girard again did an awesome job calling the pitches behind the plate. In the second inning the Blaze got the bats working. Szymonski started the inning with a single and stole to second. Mora hit a single, McCreary gets walked and Shelby Christopherson crushes the ball and gets three RBIs. The third inning was a lot like the second. Truhe starts the inning with a single and steals second. Bye gets up and jacks a double to score Truhe. Mora gets on with a single and then steals second. McCreary adds a single and Christopherson again gets a hit and two more RBIs. Then in the fifth Courtney Johnson gets walked, steals a base and Girard rips a single to score Johnson to advance the Blaze to the championship game. The championship game on Sunday was the Vermillion Blaze against Fusion Silver. Both teams were unbeaten in the tournament at this point. The championship game is played a whole seven innings with no time limit. The Blaze bats were pretty quiet until the fourth inning where they batted through the lineup. Mora started the inning with a nice hit out to center field. McCreary then line drives one right back to the pitcher who was unable to handle the shot so she gets on base. Christopherson walks, Hueser and Girard both get hits, McClelland steps up to the plate and blasts the ball over the outfielders' heads for a triple. The Blaze scores six runs in the inning. The defense shut down the Fusion only allowing them two runs. Bye was the winning pitcher striking out five batters and only walking one. The Blaze defense again made the plays. The outfielders made some spectacular catches and the infielders knocked the balls down and made good throws. Coaches Chris Girard and Shelly Bye were impressed with the way the girls played. "The girls kept a positive attitude and were able to brush mistakes off and make the next play which is a big part of the game." The Blaze win over the Fusion 7-2 and bring home the championship trophy for the second year in a row. The Blaze will finish off the season with the state tournament in Sioux Falls on July 17-19.
By David Lias For most people in Vermillion, Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson have been merely images on newsprint. The … Read Article