Plover Nationals 12U Fastpitch wins National Title
Plover Nationals 12U Fastpitch softball team fought its way out of the loser’s
bracket to win the National Title at the ASA Class B Northern National
Tournament in Pekin, Ill., Wednesday through Sunday, July 27-31.
Nationals went 2-0 in Pool Play and then won their first two bracket games,
before they faced elimination following a 3-1 loss.
Plover rallied for seven wins in a row, including six on the final day of the
tournament Sunday, as it beat East Peoria (Ill.) 6-2 and 12-4 in the
Championship to win the National Title.
was crazy,” said Plover Nationals 12U coach Bob Miklesh. “Our pitchers, Ireland
Grenlie and Jaelyn Slowinski and Makenna Guden were fantastic, and our defense
Team ERA was 1.40 for the tournament, and we batted .406, which was impressive
too,” he said. “And just to see all of their hard work and their time and
effort and dedication come together, it was extremely, extremely gratifying.”
Nationals opened the tournament with a 14-0 win over the Pekin Powder Blue and then
won 2-1 over the Midwest Menace of Collinsville, Ill., to finish 2-0 in Pool
the double-elimination bracket, Plover followed with a 12-5 win over the
Elkhorn Express (NE) and a 6-0 win over the Wheatland Spikes of Naperville, Ill.,
before the Nationals lost 3-1 to the LGSA Jets of Bartonville, Ill.
sent the Nationals to the loser’s bracket Saturday, July 30, where they stayed
alive with a 5-1 win over the Southern Heat of Steelville, Ill., to advance to
the final day of the tournament Sunday.
the first game of the day, Plover beat Pekin Blue for the second time in the
tournament with an 11-2 victory, and then held on for a 3-2 win over Total
Contact of Mount Vernon, Ill.
Nationals went on to a 10-7 victory over the Chaos Elite of Ashland, Ill., to
face the LGSA Jets for the second time, after they lost 3-1 in the previous
a berth in the Championship on the line, Plover pulled out a 10-9 victory, as
the Nationals advanced to play East Peoria Express (Ill.) for the National
started in the circle against East Peoria, which had won 17 tournament titles
and more than 140 games over the last two seasons, and was the last unbeaten
team left in the tournament at 5-0.
to beat East Peoria in back-to-back games to take home the Championship, Plover
claimed a 6-2 victory in the first game, and with Grenlie in the circle again, jumped
out to a 9-4 lead in the second game.
the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning, Plover’s Kasie Joseph came
through with a three-run triple to clear the bases and give the Nationals a
12-4 win by the eight-run rule, as they claimed the National Title.
was awesome,” said Miklesh. “From what I was told, they’ve never been
eight-runned before or 10-runned before, anywhere.
won just about every tournament possible that they were in, so it was quite an
accomplishment to beat them twice,” he said. “But the thing that was most
impressive with the girls, is that we played six games on Sunday: 8 a.m., 10
a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
he said. “And they just gutted it out.”
the Nationals 12U at the top of the batting order this season was Joseph,
followed by Briar Armatowski and Sami Huebner.
is the fastest kid on the team and the most athletic kid on the team, and if
she works hard, there will be big things happening for her,” said Miklesh.
“Briar is a hard-working kid, plays great defense, can bunt, can slap or she
can hit it to the fence.
was a right-handed batter last year, we made her a left-handed batter, and she has
really advanced,” he said. “She can bunt, she can slap and she can power slap,
and she makes a lot of ESPN SportsCenter plays over at shortstop.”
in runs from the middle of the lineup were Slowinski, Sami Miller, Tia
Livernash and Maddy Miklesh.
is one of our pitchers, throws the ball about 54, 55 miles an hour, probably
one of our strongest kids on the team, and as the year went on became one of
our better hitters,” said coach Miklesh. “Sami Miller is another super athletic
kid, super fast, can hit with power, hit with average and stole a ton of bases.
had an awesome National Tournament, multiple balls off the fence, super
athletic, plays catcher, plays some outfield, plays some first base, and just a
great kid,” he said. “My daughter Maddy is the youngest kid on the team that
can play as an 11U, split the catching duties with Tia, a hard worker and a
contributing to the Nationals’ run to the National Title were Guden, Grenlie,
Hilirie McLaughlin and Grace Repinski.
comes down from Edgar and plays in our league, she probably has the highest
softball IQ on our team, one of the hardest-working kids on the team, she plays
some center field, shortstop, third base and pitches for us,” said coach
Miklesh. “Ireland is probably the No. 1 12U pitcher that was at the Northern
Nationals and was the key to the success of the team; she pounded the strike
zone and is a pretty special kid.
plays right field, hits with a ton of power, is the most improved kid on the team
and had an awesome year,” he said. “Grace broke her arm at the start of the
softball season, and an awesome teammate, came to every practice and came to
got her cast off for the Nationals and did some pinch running for us, played
some defense and made an awesome catch in right field,” he said.
Huebner also served as a coach for the 12U team, which finished the season with
a 40-5-1 record.
the Appleton Tournament to open the season, the Nationals placed second after they
had a 5-4 loss and a tie against the Class A Wisconsin Bandits, and then won
tournaments at Wisconsin Rapids and Plover, before they finished third at the
ASA Class B State Tournament in Wausau July 7-10.
Miklesh said the team bounced back with a strong showing at the rain-shortened
Stevens Point Tournament, and then closed the season by winning the National
goal the whole time was to peak at the Nationals, and we peaked at the right
time,” said coach Miklesh. “The nice thing with our team is, almost all of the
dads help out, we do warm-ups, we have our routine, and they come to practice.
girls start practice in November, every Sunday, at the indoor hitting
facility,” he said. “And it was gratifying that all of their hard work and
their time and their effort, and all the parents’ hard work and effort, just
really came together.
an awesome feeling for the girls and the coaches,” he said.