Italy — There were two IYAA teams last week competing for a chance to be the division tournament champions in both softball and baseball. Both teams made it into the final game of their respective brackets giving fans much to cheer about and both are packing their bat bags for the district tournament.
15 & Under Girls Softball:
Italy’s 15 & Under Lady Gladiators finished in first place to conclude their regular season earning a bye in round one of the division tournament. Head coach Doug Nelson, aided Russ Lewis and Kim Nelson, guided their ladies to a 4-1 win in round two over Hillsboro Lime Green but lost to Itasca in round three 9-4.
Against Hillsboro, slugger Madison Washington helped Italy’s cause with a 3-run homerun blast that also scored Katie Byers and Tara Wallis. Jamie McIntyre hit an RBI single to score Heather Bledsue from third, accounting for Italy’s fourth run. Pitcher Jaclynn Lewis registered 9 strikeouts and the win positioned Italy into a championship showdown against Itasca.
Italy had to beat Itasca twice to claim the championship and battled their arch nemesis immediately following the Hillsboro win. Pitcher Jaclynn Lewis returned to the mound for Italy while Itasca stomped up to the plate with fresh cleats.
Taking advantage, Itasca started their Independance Day celebration early, rocketing balls thru and over Italy’s defense. With the home team struggling to mount any consistent offense, Itasca quickly built a commanding lead and coasted in the late innings, winning the division tournament championship with a 10-2 victory. Italy’s 15 & Under Girls finished in second place but still have a spot in the upcoming district tournament.
12 & Under Boys Baseball:
Ken Norwood’s 12 & Under Boys overcame a 14-9 round one loss to Whitney but later run ruled Whitney in a rematch 17-5 to give themselves a chance to challenge for the tournament championship. Kenneth Norwood, Jr. pelted a homerun and a triple in the first game but Italy fell short of the win.
In the rematch, Pitcher Levi McBride carried his teams hopes on his shoulders and followed thru with a strong game. A triple by Ryan Connor, a 2-run double by cousin Brandon Connor and a 3-run triple by first baseman Ty Windham aided in the desperation win. Kenneth Norwood’s 3-run triple in the bottom of the 6th inning sealed Whitney’s fate.
Trying to avoid the rain, Italy’s boys found themselves in the same boat as the Lady Gladiator 15 & Under Girls Team.
Norwood’s bunch, along with his assistant coaches Scott Connor, Joe Windham and Stephen Connor, needed to defeat Itasca in two games to steal the title. As did the girls’ team, Italy’s boys played immediately following their win over Whitney while Itasca stormed the field for their first action of the day.
With Windham’s big sister Drew leading the cheers, Italy rallied from a 6-2 deficit to tie the game 8-8. Itasca resonded with 3 more runs during their last at bat to put the pressure back on the home team. Unfortunately, Italy couldn’t retaliate with their final swings and the game ended with Itasca taking the division tournament championship 11-8.
Norwood’s 12u Boys team will also be headed to the district tournament and we wish all the team’s good luck as each town will be aiming for the state tournament.
IYAA teams that qualified for the district tournament:
|Team||Head Coach||Div. Tourn. Results|
|15u Girls||Doug Nelson||- 2nd Place|
|14u Boys||Gary Wood||- 2nd Place|
|12u Boys||Ken Norwood||- 2nd Place|
|10u Boys||Stephen Mott||- 1st Place|
|10u Girls||Robin Wafer||- 1st Place|
|8u Girls||Lisa Mott||- 1st Place|
|Boys T-Ball||Charles Hyles||- 2nd Place|
IYAA Sports, “The winning tradition starts here.”