Getting a steady diet of ground balls from their 14-year-old pitcher and long balls from their hitters, the Colorado Tigers rebounded to win the Amateur Softball Association 16-U A Western National Championships that wound up a rain-interrupted week at the Dwight Merkel Complex on Sunday.
Rio Sanchez, who will be a high school freshman this fall, pitched the Tigers from Erie, Colo., to an 11-6 victory over All-American Sports Academy for the championship after Madison Anderson led the resilient team from Sacramento to a 16-8 triumph that forced an extra game.
Anderson had two home runs, a triple and five RBIs in AAS’ ninth straight triumph in two 80-plus-degree days after it had lost its first game in double-elimination bracket play. After Anderson hit a third home run in the title game, the Tigers walked her four times. The runner-up Californians played 13 games, including two in pool play, and wound up with a 10-3 record. On Sunday alone, it scored 46 runs to get to the winner-take-all finale, finishing with 52 on the day.
The Tigers (8-1, including 2-0 in pool play) smashed 14 home runs among its 82 hits during the week and hit .417 as a team to support Sanchez. She pitched 50 innings (all but five the Tigers played) with 31 strikeouts and a 2.8 earned-run average. Ironically, the Tigers hit no home runs in the title game.
North Idaho Xtreme (3-2 bracket play, 2-0 pool play) from Dalton Gardens was the highest finisher among five area teams in the 30-team field, tying for fifth.
Other area teams and their bracket and pool records: Spokane Crash ’98, 1-2, 1-1; Spokane Diamonds-Travel, 1-2, 0-2; Spokane Diamonds-Regional, 0-2, 0-2; Northwest Wildfire of Coeur d’Alene, 0-2, 0-2.
The Spokane Sandpipers ended their 2013 spring/summer campaign with a record of 50-2 by winning the Midsummer Nights Madness Western Championship. The team beat the Stockton Mustangs of California 71-51 in the final.
The Sandpipers are a completely local team. Members are: Otiona Gildon, junior; Laura Stockton, jr.; Hannah Caudill, senior; Oona Harrington, jr.; and Lauren Weir, jr., all Gonzaga Prep; Delaney Junkermier, sr., and Ashlyn Lewey, jr., both Mead; Brittany Johnson, sr., Ferris; and Ashley Woods, jr., University.