As many of you know from following ZLL on Facebook and Twitter, ZLL’s Junior Softball team won the Indiana Little League Junior Softball Title in South Bend July 27. Their victory earned the team an appearance in the Little League World Series Junior Softball Regionals where the team finished 2-1 in pool play to gain a spot in the Regional Semi-Finals. Unfortunately, the ZLL team lost in the semi-finals – but the team celebrated an extremely long run by a ZLL team.
The article below summarizes the ladies march to the Indiana championship in late July.
The Zionsville Eagles 14-U girls’ softball team won a pair of games July 27 in South Bend to earn a berth in the Little League Central Region Tournament to be held in Akron, Ohio, starting Saturday (Aug. 3).
“Based on playing in the state tournament the last two years, we knew the competition would be stiff,” said manager Bob Walters. “Our team was on a mission since being eliminated last year in pool play.”
Zionsville finished pool play with a record of 2-1 with victories over Lake Station, 15-5, and Don Ayres (Fort Wayne), 14-4. The Eagles dropped an 11-1 game against Jeffersonville before starting single-elimination championship play against the host team and two-time defending state champions, the Chet Waggoner All-Stars. The Eagles entered bracket play as a second seed, needing to defeat both number 1 seeds to win the title.
The Waggoner team, which was undefeated in pool play, held leads of 4-0 and 8-3, but Zionsville answered with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to begin its comeback. Trailing, 9-7, in the bottom of the seventh, the Eagles earned a walk-off victory. Annie Bruggenschmidt started the inning with a single and scored on a double by Makayla Carney. Haley Frye then doubled to score Carney, and Emily Bruin moved Frye to third on a sacrifice bunt. Jennifer Skiles, who also was the winning pitcher, then singled to win the game. The Eagles were helped by several key defensive plays by Serena Glenn, Rachel Walters, Emily Bruin, and Lauren Skiles.
“This was the third time we had faced the Chet Waggoner team, losing in 2011 and 2012,” said Walters. “It was a great feeling to finally beat one of the best softball teams in the state. South Bend has always been a hotbed for softball and our girls persevered and pulled it out.”
In the title game rematch against Jeffersonville, the Eagles jumped out to 9-0 lead and coasted to the championship. Carney earned the pitching victory. The Eagles catching tandem of Frye and Lauren Skiles did an outstanding job in both games to keep runners from moving around the bases.
The Eagles scored 49 runs in their five games, with the top of the batting order setting the tone. Rachel Walters had 10 hits for a .500 average, followed by Bruggenschmidt (10 hits, .526, 10 runs scored), Carney (.400), and Frye (.474, 4 doubles). Jennifer Skiles and Glenn also batted over .400.
“It was an unbelievable experience seeing our Zionsville ladies compete against two of the best softball teams in the state and win,” added Walters. “This experience in South Bend will create a lifetime of memories for them and me.”
Zionsville’s first game at the Regional will be against Canfield, Ohio, at 10:30 am on Saturday. The winner of the Regional advances to the Junior League World Series in Kirkland, Washington, Aug. 11-17.
Pictured in the photo:
Front (left to right): Haley Frye, Serena Glenn, Rachel Walters, Claire Eugenio.
Standing: Nelson Frye, Lauren Skiles, Ally Witte, Alex Leix, Emily Bruin, Annie Bruggenschmidt, Jennifer Skiles, Makayla Carney, Tom Leix, (Manager) Bob Walters.
(Photo submitted by Mick Witte)