Highland takes 8U title at NSA World Series
BY ANTHONY NASELLA Post-Tribune correspondent July 26, 2012 11:22PM
Jenna O'Brien, (from left) Lauren Damron, Jenna Upchurch and Sydney Doloszycki celebrate after their St. John 8U Blue All-Stars team defeated the Schererville Shockers 8U All-Stars team in the seventh inning during the NSA World Series "B" softball tournament at the fields in Crown Point, Ind. Thursday July 26, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 28, 2012 6:23AM
CROWN POINT — Over the course of the year, The Highland 8U All-Stars had suffered just one defeat, and that was when they were playing up in a championship game of a recent 10U tournament in Aurora, Ill.
Highland maintained that almost-flawless record after going undefeated and capturing the 8U championship at the NSA World Series at the Crown Point fields on Thursday, scoring eight runs in the first inning and defeating the Wheatland Spikes 9-4 — who they defeated by just one run on Wednesday to reach the championship game.
“The girls played up to their potential throughout the whole tournament,” Highland coach Terry Pierce said. “It’s the continunity that we have with our players, parents and coaches that has been the key. We set the tone early, we established a great chemistry, and we practiced extremely hard. The girls had a level that they set themselves: They’re very serious about what they do, and the know how to have fun when it’s time to have fun. They found that balance, and I’m so proud of them.”
To face Highland, the Spikes defeated a very determined St. John Blue squad 8-7 in extra innings. For St. John, it was team’s third game of the day in the losers’ bracket — having won its first game 17-3 over the UT Bearcats and then capturing a 3-2 victory over the Schererville Shockers in extra innings.
Against the Shockers, St. John came from behind to force extra innings — with the game-winning hit compliments of Lauren Damron. Against the Spikes, St. John once again came from behind to force extra innings before ultimately falling short — scoring two runs in the fifth to cut the deficit to 6-5 and the jumping ahead 7-6 in the sixth compliments of a two-run double, a gapper to left-center field, by Damron.
“Life in the losers’ bracket is not easy, but these girls fought their hearts out,” St. John coach Ted Habas said. “They have no quit in them, and I couldn’t ask for more. It was a great experience for the girls.”
In the 10U division, Triple Crown Xtreme won four games in the losers’ bracket before finally being eliminated by Mafia Fast Pitch Black (Indianapolis) 6-5.
Xtreme defeated Hoosier Crush 6-1, followed that up with routs against Center Grove Crush (14-0) and the St. Louis Sticks (9-1) and finished with a 9-5 victory over the Indiana Shockwaves.