It was Bombers on Bombers action at Chesley Park Sunday to decide the Nutmeg State Games' 18U softball champion with the Bombers 18U white team coming out on top in a 9-3 final.
The Bombers 16U Black team, playing against girls about four years older than them, took the top seed into Sunday's championship game against their senior team within the program. The contest started off with the senior team jumping out ahead and establishing its presence with some authority.
With two on in the bottom of the first Shailynn Williams hit the go-ahead homer to jump ahead 3-0. The early lead was extended in the fourth inning when pitcher Alexis Michon going deep to drive in three, making the game a 6-0 game.
The lead was extended to 9-0 in the back half of the game with an RBI groundout and another home run by Michon, which drove in two.
Michon, an all-conference Plymouth State product who has transferred to Eastern Connecticut, punched out eight in the game. The only blemish of the contest for her came in the fifth inning, where Black scored three on an RBI single from Kassidy Latour and a two-run single from Madison Miller. She received the winning decision.
The prep, despite knowing the younger girls within the program, was mostly to put Michon in the circle and let her do her thing said 18U coach Scott McCall.
"We know some of these girls just from being around them, but we're fortunate to have one of the best pitchers anywhere around, so a large part of our prep involves putting [Michon] in the circle and letting her get people out. ... We're fortunate to have her. She's a difference maker for us," McCall said.
The late runs on Michon were a welcome sight for Jamie Smart's 16U team, who said the team has little quit in them.
"These girls never give up. ... We always think we have a chance to win, but the mindset is that we have nothing to lose because they are the older team. They have a lot to lose. These girls just want to get better, that's all they want to do," Smart said.
Black was able to string together five hits to bring in the three runs, at times playing strong on defense when the ball was hit hard. Facing a high-level caliber arm like Michon with some success is a testament to how hard his team has worked to hold their own when facing older competition, said Smart.
"It just goes to show how hard we work," said Smart. "That's what we practice all winter. We are a young team and we like to play up, ... and it just shows and makes them realize their hard work pays off to face a pitcher and hitter like that and not look silly."
McCall said while it's often expected for an 18U team to beat a 16U squad, he liked what he saw out of the younger girls who played up to their competition.
"I'm very proud of the organization, because the team they beat to get to us, I thought, was a really good team," said McCall. "They're also missing some key players, ... our younger teams are so good and it wound up being a good win for us, but it was a great job for them to get here. For a 15 year old team to make it to the finals of an 18 year old tournament is very impressive. I'm proud of my [girls] for winning it."
Empire State takes 16U title
The Empire State Huskies roled through the competition in the 16U bracket of the Nutmeg State Games, winning in Sunday’s final 12-0 over the Wolcott Eagles.
The Huskies won games against the CT Mirage 7-1 to open Sunday’s competition, moving on to then shutout the BVSA Lady Titans13-0 to earn a championship bid.
The Wolcott Eagles won Sunday’s opener 5-2 over the CT Bombers 14U team. In the bracket semis, the Eagles won 16-6 over the Shoreline Sting blue to earn a championship bid against the Huskies.
The Huskies entered Sunday Pool B champions while the Eagles entered Sunday the third seeded team out of Pool A.