De Soto-2 second in league tourney
Going into last weekend's USSSA 15-and-under Tri-County League tournament in Miller Park, De Soto-2 coach James Grizzle wanted the league post-season hardware to go along with his team's 11-1 regular season record and league championship.
But Wellsville had other ideas, and handed De Soto-2 its second and third losses of the year. Both matches came down to the wire.
Wellsville put De Soto-2 into the loser's bracket with a 5-4 squeaker over the first-year team.
"We'd been hitting the ball all season long," Grizzle said. "But in that game, our runs came in the first inning. They chiseled away at their deficit, and we couldn't find a hole in the infield."
It also didn't help matters that Wellsville made a pitching change during the game.
"They threw a slow pitcher at us at about the midway point of the game," Grizzle said. "It really just threw us off. We couldn't put a bat on the ball."
In the championship game, De Soto-2 jumped out on top by a 9-5 score in the early innings but saw Wellsville rally for the two run 11-9 win in the late innings.
The second-round loss to Wellsville served as a springboard for De Soto-2, which took on the De Soto-1 team that featured mostly junior varsity players from the Wildcats' softball team.
De Soto-2 started the game on a 7-0 run and then made a statement by mowing down its cross-town rivals 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
"Our pitching and fielding were phenomenal," Grizzle said. "The loss really woke us up, and we came out on fire."
De Soto-2 knocked off Eudora-1 14-6 to open the double-elimination tournament then belted Eudora-2, 13-3, in the semi finals.
Grizzle praised his pitchers Megan Bliss and Jenny Hill for their efforts during the weekend. He also commended his daughter Roxanne, and Kelsey Lawson for their play behind the plate.
Lawson caught one enemy base runner napping for an out while Grizzle threw base runners out at first and third as well as two more at second. Grizzle also had a key triple in the tournament that cleared the bases.
"We had a good time in the tournament," coach Grizzle said. "Hopefully the girls improved during the season.
"The main goal is to help them pick up the game now, so they can have a good high school team in a couple of years."
The De Soto-1 team, coached by Lawrence Davis, placed fourth in the tournament out of nine teams.
Besides the two De Soto teams, there were two teams from Gardner, two from Eudora, and one each from Spring Hill, Baldwin and Wellsville.
"We played real well," Davis said. "The girls gave great effort throughout the tournament, and I believe played to the best of their ability."