Grizzles lend muscle to winning effort
Tonganoxie's 14-under fast pitch softball team received some local help in winning the American Fastpitch Association 'B' Girls National Tournament at the Clinton Lake Softball Complex in Lawrence last weekend.
Inclement weather forced the postponement of the tournament for two days, but it couldn't keep the inevitable from happening on Sunday.
The Braves battled through a 60-team field to escape as one of eight teams to make the cut before rain forced the delay. The field of eight then resumed action on Saturday and Sunday.
Roxanne and Veronica Grizzle are both first-year members of the Braves and both were instrumental in the outcome of the tournament. In all, Tonganoxie played 12 games.
"It's amazing," Roxanne said. "All of that hard work was rewarded. You can play so long and never experience anything like this."
By her own high standards, Roxanne said she didn't play real well early in the tournament.
"I wasn't seeing the pitches," she said. "Then I started hitting the ball a lot."
Roxanne, the older of the pair of sisters, had one of the big hits of the tournament when she ripped a three-run home run out of the ball park.
The elder sister also had a key hit in the championship game Sunday when she followed Melissa Pratt's double with an RBI triple to bring in the final run of the 4-0 win over the Tufco (Gentry, Ark.) Heartbreakers.
Veronica made some key plays as well, especially on Sunday when she connected on several hits.
"They all played together before," she said. "But this is our first year with them. It's exciting to win it all with them."
Veronica said that winning the championship would give her team bragging rights for next year.
"Every team we've seen before (the tournament) was there," she said. "And a lot of them beat us before."
The Kansas City Wild Things was one of the teams Veronica was talking about. She said that the Braves countered their ace pitcher with some great base running.
"We've played them before," she said. "And their pitcher knows what we don't like. But we have good runners and in tight games that can make a difference."
Tonganoxie started Sunday's Championship round with a 4-2 triumph over the Wild Things. The Braves then knocked off the Sioux Falls Flash 11-4 before playing their final three games of the tournament against the runners-up.
The Heartbreakers defeated the Intensity 6-2, before losing to the Braves 4-1 in the first of four straight games they played. After defeating the Flash 5-0, the Heartbreakers edged Tonganoxie 5-3 to force another game in the double elimination format.
The Braves, who finished the season with a 48-14 mark, lost their first game of the tournament before rallying for 11 straight victories. Tonganoxie out-scored their opponents 26-12 on Sunday as they compiled a 4-1 record.
Alex Prosser found herself in a spot she normally isn't in at a junior novice tennis tournament at the Plaza Tennis Center earlier this week.
Shortly after dispatching Ashley McDaniel (3-6, 6-4, 10-5) in 16-under singles competition Monday, Prosser and McDaniel were asked by the tournament director if they would like to team up in doubles action Tuesday.
After agreeing to play in the doubles portion of the tournament, Prosser discovered a liking to the faster-paced game.
"It was fun," she said of the loss they suffered at the hands of McDaniel's sisters. "I barely played (doubles) before, so I really didn't know what I was doing out there. We did get better as the day went on. It's an excellent opportunity to work n your net game too."
As for the remainder of her singles competition, Prosser said she didn't feel as if she played very well.
"I changed a lot since yesterday," she said. "I just hung in there. That's how I won. I just kept battling.
Prosser fell to her second opponent on Tuesday by scores of 3-6, 6-2 and 20-22.
Daniel Hoschouer won his first match of the tournament, while Andy Edwards lost his opening round match, won his first match in the consolations and then lost again.