LaPorte Lazers stay alive with walk-off win
By Will Culbertson Post-Tribune correspondent July 25, 2012 11:24PM
Updated: August 27, 2012 11:21AM
LaPorte — It took an extra inning, but the LaPorte Lazers plated two runs in the bottom of the eighth to secure a 4-3 victory over Moxie (Michigan).
With runners on second and third, the Lazers were beneficiaries of back to back dropped fly balls by the Moxie second baseman and left fielder that resulted in the tying and winning runs.
Kass Rosenbaum was the catalyst on offense for the Lazers as she hit an inside-the-park home run to give the Lazers an early advantage. Rosenbaum then hit the pop fly that resulted in Jen Salyer scoring the tying run. Emma Dickson followed Rosenbaum’s lead by hitting a pop fly that allowed Rosenbaum to score the game-winner.
The Lazers dropped a 6-3 contest earlier Wednesday to the Indiana Diamond Queens, which sent them to the brink of elimination.
“It’s just exciting, we were in a tie-breaker last night and then again today and to win it, we’re excited,” said Jackie Salyer, one of many proud parents beaming after the wild walk-off win. “This is a good team, that has struggled a little bit, but they’re all friends who are having a lot of fun.”
The Lazers are just one of 44 teams in the tournament that is being hosted all over Northwest Indiana. Lazers coach Ron Rosenbaum was all smiles after the victory.
“It hasn’t been easy. We’ve been playing nonstop ever since the end of the high school season,” Rosenbaum said.
Rosenbaum added that the Lazers had to qualify and then successfully compete in three tournaments (including one indoors) just to clinch a berth to the NSA (National Softball Association) 16U World Series.
“It’s been tough; we’ve lost some players and have had a couple injured coming into this tournament. But we’ve survived and we’re probably playing our best ball of the year right now,” Rosenbaum said.
One of the biggest reasons for the Lazers’ success has been ace pitcher Stasia Merkel.
In temperatures that reached close to 100 degrees, Merkel took the circle and threw all 15 innings the Lazers played on Wednesday. Rosenbaum praised Merkel saying, “She’s an amazing kid. She has endurance, she was throwing as good in the 15th inning as she was in the first.” Rosenbaum cites Merkel’s accuracy, stamina, and grit as the keys to Merkel’s success.
The Lazers will continue play Thursday morning.