Submitted by the Lake Forest 14U Softball Gold Team
There’s new ground being broken in Lake Forest Softball. The Lake Forest Scouts 14U Gold team won its second tournament Championship this fall, and with it the second bid for nationals next summer. Just a few weeks ago, the Scouts won their first ever nationals bid by winning the NSA Waukegan Wars tournament on a walk off double in the final inning. This weekend the magic struck again in this USSSA showdown, as they came from behind in the international tie-breaking 8th inning and erased an 8-6 deficit to win 9-8 once again in walk off fashion.
The Scouts went 5-0-1 scoring 38 runs while yielding 23 runs. Solid Pitching was provided by Elisa Nettesheim (4-0-1, 3.00 ERA) and Emma Olson 1-0, 1.00 ERA). The offense was led by Julia Frauenheim (7-14 7RS, 7RBI’s), Jon’nah Williams (7-17, 7RS, 8SB), Sydney Martens (7-17, 5RBI’s), and Shannon Stowe (5-11, 6 RBI’s).
It all started in the quarter final game with the Scouts defeating the Mundelein Stampede 5-2. Scouts pitcher Elisa Nettesheim was dominant scattering 4 hits, striking out 6 and allowing 0 earned runs. The Scouts scored 2 runs in the 2nd and 3 runs in the 3rd on extra base hits by Frauenheim and Martens providing all the runs needed for victory.
The Scouts then beat Tinley Park in the semi-final game with a great come from behind victory. The Scouts trailed 5-4 in the final inning. After a leadoff walk to Williams, Martens crushed a line shot double off the fence in left center scoring Williams to tie the game. One out later Nettesheim singled home Martens to give the Scouts the come from behind victory.
In the championship game against the Arlington Patriots, key hits and key defensive plays in the outfield by Skye Miller and Izzy Bogdanowicz, and in the infield by Hanna Atchley and Ellie Pearson, kept the Scouts in the game early on. Still trailing 4-1 in the 4th with 2 outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd, Frauenheim continued her clutch hitting by ripping a single to right to make it 4-3. The Scouts trailed 6-3 in the bottom of the 6th when Stowe, Williams and Martens delivered consecutive extra base hits to tie the game. The game remained tied after 7. In the international tie breaker 8th inning, the Patriots scored 2 runs in the top of the frame to grab an 8-6 lead. In the home half of the frame, with one out and Bogdanowicz on 3rd, Williams singled to center to make it an 8-7 game; she then stole 2nd and with two outs and the game on the line, Grace Tirzmalis hit a shot up the middle to score Williams with the tying run. Tirzmalis went to 2nd on the throw home, setting the stage for Nettesheim once again. On the second pitch, she ripped one down the left field line bringing home Tirzmalis giving the Scouts the championship win in an incredible finish.
“This team played with great heart, spirit and intensity and with a ‘Never say die’ attitude, which allowed them to prevail. In all the years I’ve coached, I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of many championships, but none as hard fought, dramatic and exciting as this one. This team simply would not quit; they are truly learning what it takes to win,” Said Scouts manager Neal Kahalnik, who is assisted by Sammie Bloomfield. “This is a talented and dedicated group of kids who love to play softball. The future is looking bright for Lake Forest Softball.”