Great Pitching! Great Defense! Great Hitting! The Dragons go 3-0 winning their second tournament of the season and improved their overall record to 15-3. Oh by the way....last year they only won 13 games, so to say things were looking up would be a serious understatement.
The weather was brutally cold with a nice 10mph breeze to add to the enjoyment, making everybody on hand wish the 80 degree days of March were here again. But, the Dragons played 3 games as if it were 75 and mostly sunny. The girls had to huddle around the portable heater in the Beck's canopy when they could to stay warm. Thanks Doug & Nanette!
Swartz Creek 10 Hemlock 0
In the bottom of the 1st inning Hayley Cruthers Belted a solo home run to set the tone for the day for the Dragons bats. Gabby Deering hit a hard line drive, but it was right at somebody and the inning ended with Creek up 1-0.
AJ Brookman walked to start the 2nd inning with Hanna Sayles coming into courtesy run. Sayles stole second on the first pitch before Hailey Fox smashed a double to score Sayles. Lauren Adas singled to score Fox with Emily Rodriguez coming into courtesy run advancing to 3rd base on a bunt single by Andrea Aldridge. Aldridge stole second, but the inning ended there with Creek up 3-0.
Michaela Krusina got things going in the third with a ground rule double that would have most certainly been a home run anywhere else. Nonetheless, she advanced to 3rd base on a Brookman groundout before Fox knocked her in with another hit singling into the grass. Fox then stole second and third base with Adas getting walked and stealing second, but they would be stranded with Creek up 4-0.
Aldridge walked to start the 4th inning and stole second base. Carah Pletscher singled to score Aldridge with the help of an outfield error that enabled Pletscher to also reach second base. Cruthers singled advancing Pletscher to 3rd to put runners on the corners. Cruthers stole second with Hemlock attempting to throw her out, which helped Pletscher steal home on the same play. Deering ripped a double to score Cruthers. Krusina tripled to score Deering. Brookman reached base on error with Sayles coming into courtesy run. Sayles then stole second with Krusina stealing home again on the throw down to second base. The inning ended thereafter with Creek up 9-0.
The bottom of the 5th began with an Emily Weekly single and stolen base. Pletscher reached base on error to put runners on the corners again. Pletscher stole second before Cruthers ended the game with another rocket line drive down the right field line for what would count as a walk-off single (rather than a base-clearing triple) to give Creek their 10th run and win by the mercy rule.
Brookman pitched the entire game to get the win and shutout scattering 3 hits with 3 strikeouts. The Dragon defense was tight making no errors.
Swartz Creek 1 Petoskey 0
The second game was a nail-biter all the way as the Dragons stranded 9 runners through the game, but played awesome defense and got great pitching from Pletscher who got the win and shutout with 6 strikeouts, while allowing 5 hits.
In the bottom of the first inning Creek had the bases loaded with singles by Cruthers and Deering. Three straight fielder's choice infield ground balls would end the inning keeping the game scoreless.
Ashlyn Beck singled in the 2nd, but the lady's could not get her into score. In the 3rd inning Deering singled with Weekly coming into pinch run. Krusina crushed another ground-rule double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Brookman singled to score Weekly with what would prove to be the only run of the game and therefore the game-winning hit as the inning ended with Creek up 1-0.
Deering and Krusina each singled in the coming innings, but did not score. Petoskey came close in the 6th inning with a lead off bunt single that after a sacrifice bunt and ground out was standing on 3rd base with 2 outs. But, Pletscher struck out the batter to end the threat. Again the Dragons had no errors in the game winning 1-0 beating yet another ranked team (honorable mention division 2).
Swartz Creek 12 Bay City Western 5
The final game was versus another division 1 ranked team that they've never beaten before. But this is "The Year of the Dragon" baby! This time the lady's would be visiting team and they wasted no time scoring. Another walk for Cruthers, who already has as many walks as she's had in total for her Freshman & Sophomore seasons, would cost BC Western as Deering absolutely crushed the ball off the fence scoring Cruthers all the way from first base to put Creek up 1-0 before the inning ended.
BC Western came back with a lead off single befoe a questionable call by the umpire allowed a bunter to hit the ball outside of the box, which then popped up hitting her in the chest.....nonetheless put runners on the corners. A ground out scored the run as the inning ended tied at 1 apiece.
BC Western went ahead making the most of a single, sacrifice bunt, good base running and ground out to put them up 2-1.
In the second Fox doubled, but would be stranded on third base after a ground out by Adas. Cruthers too was stranded in the following inning after hitting another single.
In the third BC Western added to their lead with a single and double to give them a 3-1 lead. Still the Dragons kept their composure as they came up to bat in the top of the 4th inning, which would prove to be the difference of the game.
Brookman began the inning with a walk. Rodriguez came into pinch run, but was forced out at second on a Fox bunt for a single where the only play was at second base. Fox advanced to second as Adas struck out with an errant pick-off throw attempt by the catcher.
With 2 outs all the magic happened for the Dragons as Beck singled to score Fox. Beck made it to second base on a passed ball with Weekly coming into pinch run. Aldridge reached base on an error to put runners on the corners. A line drive single by Pletscher scored Weekly putting runners at first and second. Cruthers doubled to score both Pletscher and Aldridge and advanced to third base on the throw. Deering singled to score Cruthers. Krusina singled and with the help of an outfield error Deering scored with Krusina making it all the way to third, which is where she was left stranded, but not until the Dragons took the lead 7-3.
The score remained the same until the 6th as Pletscher led off the inning ripping a double followed by yet another Cruthers walk. Deering nearly cleared the bases hitting a frozen rope to center field, but it was caught and held the runners at first and second. Krusina smacked a single to score Pletscher with Cruthers making it to third on the throw and Krusina trotting down to second. A sacrifice fly by Brookman easily scored Cruthers. Fox then singled to score Krusina advancing to second on the throw home before the inning ended with Creek up 10-3
BC Western battled back getting 2 runs on a double and single and couple errors by the Dragon defense, but that was all making the score Creek 10 BC Western 5 after 6.
A little drama in the top of the 7th made the coming Dragon victory all the more enjoyable as Beck led off the inning with a single. With Cruthers up to bat and an apparent unhappy BC Western fan belittling Cruthers' swing as weak or something to that effect....Cruthers demonstrated to the unhappy one how to hit a ball over the right field fence for another home run and two insurance runs. Apparently nobody has ever hit the ball over that right field fence, which must have greatly confused the poor sport grumbling with Coach Clolinger at third base. In the words of today's teenagers, "Whatever Dude."
Two strikeouts and a ground out in the bottom of the 7th gave the Swartz Creek Dragons their 15th win on the season and second tournament championship in 2012. As a fan and follower of Dragon softball for the past 6 years I can tell you that this was the best overall day I have ever seen a Dragon varsity softball team play. Everybody on the team contributed to the success of the day, which certainly explains the happy faces in the picture below.