Local fastpitch squad wins national championship
For the City Times
DECATUR — The Point FASTPITCH 14U team culminated their season this past week with a ASA/USA 14U Northern National Championship victory in Decatur, Ill.
The team went 6-0 on the weekend before rain washed out the tournament on Sunday. Since Point FASTPITCH was the only unbeaten team standing on the rainy Sunday morning, they were crowned National Champions.
The tournament began on Thursday in pool play with the first game against the Pekin Power. Emma Kawleski and Paeton Kringel combined for the 6-5 win in the circle. Brooke Swiecki came through in the 4th in a big way with a 3 RBI triple. With the score tied 5-5, the winning run was scored in the top of the 7th inning on a delayed steal by Zoe Fink from second to third and an error on the throw. Jayden Hytry and Emma Kawleski both recorded two hits in the game.
In the second pool play game of the day Point FASTPITCH defeated the Oak Park Windmills 13-0 behind Brooke Swiecki and Zoe Fink in the circle. Ella Schroeder had a huge early double in the game with two outs and plating two runners for Point. Brayley Lake and Olivia Allen both had two hits in the contest.
Friday brought the beginning of bracket play versus Pumas Fastpitch. Zoe Fink and Emma Kawleski combined for a 15-0 shut out. Zoe Fink, Olivia Allen & Molly Kable all were 3 for 3 at the plate while Paeton Kringel gathered a two hit game. The win pushed Point forward to Saturday.
Saturday’s bracket play brought stronger competition and a threat of potential weather on Sunday forced tournament officials to add an additional game on the end of the day. Point FASTPITCH would be challenged and in three great games would earn their championship.
Saturday’s first game was against one of the tournament favorites in Metamora Fastpitch from Springfield, Illinois. Point would prevail 3-2 in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the 7th. Paeton Kringel pitched a complete game in the circle with 8 strikeouts and two walks. That effort would be supported in the 7th in dramatic fashion. Tied 2-2, Kringel led off the 7th with a single followed by an Emma Raikowski sacrifice that turned into a two base error. With runners on 2nd and 3rd Molly Kable, who was already 3-3 on the game, stepped in. On a 2-0 count she lined a pitch up the middle to score Kringel. Celebration followed on the field and they moved on together to the next round. Molly Kable finished the game 4-4 while Paeton Kringel, Emma Raikowski and Zoe Fink all finished with two hits a piece.
Waiting for Point in the next winner’s bracket game was the Bomb Squad. Zoe Fink would take the mound in the semi-final and throw an 8-2 complete game win striking out three and walking one. Paeton Kringel led the offense with a 4 for 4 effort followed by Fink going 3 for 4 in the game.
Tournament officials then decided to play one more bracket game on the day to make sure they had an undefeated team in the winner’s bracket if weather should arrive on Sunday. The foe for Point FASTPITCH would be a familiar one, the Rapids Rage. The two teams had split their two other contests this Summer and in the third match up in Decatur the game had a wonderful, competitive High School feel.
In the top of the first, Point got on the board with a two out, two strike line drive for a single by Zoe Fink that gave Point a 2-0 lead. Rapids responded with a run in the second, followed by a Point run in the top of the 3rd to make it 3-1. Then in the bottom of the third adversity challenged the players from Point. The Rage scored five runs on three errors and miscommunications. That left Point down 6-3 moving into the fourth. No runs were tallied by either team in the fourth and Point pushed Emma Kawleski across in the fifth to cut the deficit to 6-4.
Then in the fifth grit and determination showed true in Point FASTPITCH. C.J. Kaminski led the attack with a triple with one out. Jayden Hytry doubled scoring Kaminski and cutting the deficit to 6-5. Kawleski stepped in with two outs and the tying run on second. With a hard ground ball down the right field line she scored Hytry for the tying run. After a passed ball advanced her to second, Kringel doubled to bring in Kawleski to make it 7-6. Then to add insurance Emma Raikowski singled in Kringel. Point FASTPITCH had just put up their own 5 run inning to take an 8-6 advantage. That would be all Point would need after holding off a threat in the bottom of the 5th and then retiring the last eight batters. Kringel threw a complete game tallying 3 strikeouts and allowing only one walk. Kringel and Hytry both collected three hits, while Raikowski, Kaminski, & Kawleski tallied two.
The rain as predicted washed out Sunday and Point FASTPITCH would be the only unbeaten team and your ASA/USA 14U Northern National Champions in 2018!
For the Point FASTPITCH program this is their FIRST National Championship! 14U in 2010 finished 4th, 12U & 16U in 2012 finished Runner Up and in 2017 this current team of 14U players finished 3rd as 12U.
For this Point FASTPITCH age group, they have finished second at ASA State 10U in 2015, then in 12U they won the ASA State Championship and finished 3rd at ASA Nationals in 2017 and were crowned National Champions in 2018!
On the Season Point FASTPITCH 14U finished 25-10 with a July record of 15-2 and an eleven game winning streak that included a 5th place finish at ASA State, the Point FASTPITCH Classic Championship and the ASA / USA National title.
“A tremendous group of athletes with great ability and awesome character. 1-0!”
TEAM MEMBERS: Lauryn Broecker, Olivia Allen, Emma Kawleski, Brayley Lake, C.J. Kaminski, Ella Schroeder, Molly Kable, Emma Raikowski, Brooke Swiecki, Zoe Fink, Paeton Kringel, Jayden Hytry