The Killer Bees outlasted the AZ Storm Gold and came away with a 6-5 victory Sunday in the ASA 18u Dave Braga Memorial Tournament championship at Rose Mofford.
(Tournament photos, click here.)
After going down 5-3 in the top of the sixth inning, the Bees rallied for the win as time expired in the bottom half of the frame.
Alyssa Vargas and Aubrey Whitmer hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Whitmer fell victim to a fielder’s choice a play later that put Vargas on third and Sierra Whitmer on first.
Eight-hitter Nicole Upshaw then cut the Storm lead in half when she knocked in Vargas with an RBI single. Upshaw came through in the clutch all game for the Bees. She finished the day 3-for-3 with three RBI.
Following a single by Alexa Redman that loaded the bases, pinch-hitter Vanessa Ybarra tied the game with an RBI single and set the stage for a dramatic finish.
With the bases loaded and one out, a pitch to Brandi Heimburg bounced off of the plate into foul territory, and Upshaw dashed home to score the winning run from third.
The Storm put together a rally of its own in the top half of the inning. Down 3-2, the team put up three runs on a big knock by Courtney Rodriguez.
Destinee Luna hit a two run single to start the rally, and Courtney Geith reached base on an error a batter later. After Willow Kalineu moved the runners up with a ground out, leadoff batter Sam Davis drew a walk to load the bases. Rodriguez then slammed a three-RBI, go-ahead triple to the right-field wall.
Rodriguez finished the day 1-for-3 with a triple, a walk and three RBI. She also scored a run.
The Bees put up one run in the bottom of the second inning to open up the scoring. Ayssa Vargas reached base on an error and later scored on an infield single by Upshaw.
The team then went up 3-0 with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Nicole Newberg and Courtney Sherwin hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Both runners advanced on a passed ball.
The Storm looked poised to escape a big inning a batter later when third baseman Maddie Francis fielded a grounder by Vargas and nailed Newberg at home plate.
Following the set back, Aubrey Whitmer reached base on an error to load the bases. Sierra Whitmer and Upshaw then came through with consecutive RBI singles to pad the Bees’ lead.
The Storm responded in the top of the fifth with two runs of its own. Kalineu singled to start the inning. After an errant pitch hit Davis, Rodriguez drew a walk to load the bases.
Gabbie Sandstedt then sent a deep sacrifice fly to center to score Kalineu. Davis was thrown out at third on the play.
After a single by Cierra Mangum, Melissa Sechrest plated Rodriguez with an RBI double.
Reliever Ciara Gonzales picked up the win for the Bees. She pitched two innings and struck out one.
Bees starter Michelle Duncan pitched four innings and gave up two runs. She struck out four.