Dixie Days goes the distance with three winner-takes-all title games
MOUNT VERNON – After three days of softball, the players decided to get the most out of the weekend, with three of the four championship bouts going to two games.
In the 8U, 10U and 14/16U divisions, the team coming out of the consolation bracket won the first matchup of the championship, forcing a decisive game for the title.
The 8-and-under Mount Vernon Mayhem team was able to dodge elimination and proceed for a chance to win the tournament in the Dixie Days tournament Sunday against the Wolfpack of Massillon, falling just short with a second-place finish.
With Wolfpack up half of the title game with a score of 1-0, Mayhem had to step up to put runs on the board, and Jillian Brownfield was the first to do so for Mayhem. However, one run wasn’t enough to put the Wolfpack away for good, with each team tacking on another run over the next two innings, resulting into a tie ball game going into the sixth.
With a goal set in mind and a tranquil approach, Mayhem settled down and brought three runs in, highlighted by a two RBI double from Brielle Gillmore. With a three run lead, Mayhem buckled down for a quality inning of defense, holding Wolfpack scoreless to advance to the next game.
The following game looked well in favor of Mayhem again, as the team picked up right where it left off, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. The team struggled defensively as the Wolfpack scored six runs in the bottom of the frame to take the lead away. Mount Vernon had come too far to just give up.
Hits and scores from Gillmore and Brownfield kept Mount Vernon in the game, leaving the second inning down 6-4. The girls were able to fight hard, but in the third, things started to get out of reach.
The Wolfpack was able to score five runs in the third and two runs in the fourth, while playing quality defense and allowing no runs, which led to a 13-4 run rule win for the Wolfpack in the fifth.
Similar to the 8U division, the Ohio Classics came from the consolation bracket and showed its skill in the first championship game in a high-scoring affair. Classics was first at the plate and made the most of the opportunity, scoring seven runs in the frame. Ohio Storm rebounded for a run in the bottom of the frame, keeping the score at 7-1.
The Classics quickly added to their lead, scoring another two in the second inning, before the Storm had an outburst of four runs, putting the score at 9-5. The Classics scored a run in the third, before the Storm tacked on three runs, continuing to cut into the lead and put it at 10-8.
Both teams struggled in the fourth, before Classics added another two runs to its total. A run from the Storm in the same inning put the score at 12-9. The Classics exploded for six runs in the sixth inning, and another two Storm runs set the score at 18-11 heading into the final frame, where the visitors scored six more runs to take the win 24-11.
The second game followed a different, more defensive, path. The Storm, as the home team, scored first in the first inning, but the Classics rebounded in the second to score two, taking the one-run lead. The Storm had an answer of its own, going up 3-2 after its turn at the plate in the third. A run for the Classics in the fourth tied the game at 3. The decisive run came in the fifth inning for the Storm, giving them the Dixie Days team title.
The Strasburg Tigers managed to waltz their way through the tournament unbeaten, until Valley Force of New Philadelphia gave them a run for their money in the championship game.
In the low scoring matchup, it was a defensive guru’s paradise. Tied 1-1 after the first, there was little wiggle room for error for either squad. The game remained 1-1 throughout the second inning and into the third until Strasburg put another run onto the board.
Down 2-1, Valley Force struggled to get enough hits to earn any more runs, and late in the sixth, Strasburg found a rhythm and had gained two insurance runs for themselves.
With winning the Championship among the horizon, Strasburg played lights out defense to hold Valley Force to three-up, three-down. Securing the title as 12U Dixie Days Champions.
Mount Vernon Mayhem 16U navigated its way through the winner’s bracket of the 14/16-and-under bracket, heading into the championship game only needing one win against Black Widow.
Starting in the top of the first, Mount Vernon looked like it wanted to end things early, plating four runs. Ashlyn Ryan, who singled, and Ashley Hull, who doubled, both scored in the top of the first to give Mount Vernon the early 2-0 lead. After being held scoreless in the first, Black Widow struck in the second, plating two runs to knot the game at 2 apiece.
Neither team could kickstart its offense in the third or fourth innings, with two combined baserunners in the frame. After another quick top of the inning in the fifth, Black Widow scored five runs to take the lead, 7-2. The team tacked on another run in the sixth to go up 8-2 and held on for the win, forcing a decisive game.
As the away team again, Mayhem struggled to get going, with only three baserunners over the first four innings. Black Widow took advantage off the lack of offensive output in by Mayhem, batting around the order in the first inning and plating seven runs. The team added another run in the fourth inning to go up 8-0.
Mount Vernon got on the board in a big way in the fifth innings. Sammie Davis scored the team’s first run of the game, followed quickly by Alexis Kuhn. Ryan, Hull, Lainey Hicks and Julia Davis all also scored in the inning, cutting the lead to 8-6. Both teams were scoreless, until Black Widow exploded for another six runs in the sixth inning, pushing the lead to eventual final, 14-6.