EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- With day one at the Great Lake National Softball Tournament in the books, it turned out to be an incredibly successful day for Wabash Mission's softball teams.
Four of their teams, Wabash Mission '04 (14U), Mission '06 (12U), Mission '08 (12U), and Mission '10 (8U) made the hour trip south to southern Indiana, varying from Evansville to Newburgh and Boonville for their opening play of the tournament.
A pair of Mission players had standout performances to highlight the day. First, Mission '08's Gabby Hoke struck out 10 batters en route to a complete game no-hitter in their 3-1 victory over Ohio River Ruckus to open the tournament. To add to the program's feats, Mission '04 won their final game on Wednesday on a walk-off wild pitch, which Olivia Stinson hustled home to score on, giving them the 3-2 victory over Leo Pride 05.
We'll break down each team though and their results from a great first day of action.
Their first game of the tournament at Deaconess Park in Evansville was somewhat rocky. Facing against the Legends Lynx, Wabash Mission fell behind 6-1 in the third inning, after the Lynx bounced around Mission's Rachel Gill on the mound. To their credit though, they fought back.
The team rallied from a 6-1 deficit to tie the game at 6-6 in the bottom half of the third inning, with Gill and Stinson each slashing a pair of RBIs to lead their bats.
Hannah Parr supplanted Gill on the mound for the remaining 1 1-3 innings and allowed just two hits, with no runs.
They had a bases loaded opportunity with one out in the final inning, but failed to capitalize and as a result, the two teams tied at a final of 6-6.
Looking for their first victory of the tournament in game two against Leo Pride 05 at Deaconess Park, Mission summoned Gill once again to pitch. This time, Gill tossed a gem.
Despite encountering some trouble in the first inning, Gill went on cruise control from the second inning until the seventh. She tossed a complete game, allowing just two runs in her seven frames of work (a run in each the first and seventh innings).
Mission's bats however struggled to find their approach at the plate against Leo Pride's Anna Woods, who was throwing incredibly well and kept their bats at bay.
They made adjustments accordingly in the bottom of the third to combat Woods' arm. The Mission bats worked the count and looked for opportune pitches to hit, displaying tremendous patience at the plate. Holli Guffey got Mission on the board in the inning, slashing an RBI single with runners on first and second to tie the game at 1-1.
The ensuing inning, Mission continued their patience and added some excellent baserunning into the mix. Hailey Lang began the inning with a single, but Stinson was called upon to pinch-run for Lang. Stinson swiped second, third, and eventually scored on a wild pitch to give Mission their first lead of the tournament at 2-1.
Mission maintained that lead until the top of the seventh, when Leo Pride was pushed to the brink and came through. They began the inning with an infield single, followed by another single to set runners on the corners with just one out. They laid down a sacrifice bunt to score the runner from third, and the runner from first hustled all the way to third on the sacrifice. With two outs and a runner on third, Gill battled through the jam and forced the last batter to popup to end the threat.
With the game now tied at 2-2, Mission was in need of a run, or face their second straight tie of the tournament, which they surely didn't want after the momentum they built in the game.
Stinson led off the inning, serving as the winning run if she could reach. She did reach, but not in a manner she would have liked. Stinson was nailed by a pitch on the inner side of her left knee cap. You could tell she was in pain as she grimaced and jogged down the first-base line. Mission's coaches checked on Stinson, offering her a pinch-runner if need be. Stinson quickly shot down that notion and remained in the ballgame, playing through the pain.
Now, with the winning run represented at first base, Lang stepped to the plate. Woods managed to strikeout Lang, but not without consequence. The third pitch of the at bat was an awkwardly high-bounced wild pitch which the catcher couldn't locate mid air, allowing Stinson to advance all the way from first to third. A few dozen feet now just stood in the way of what could be a walk-off win and an ensuing celebration.
Carli Merritt stepped to the plate looking to drive Stinson home and give her team a walk-off victory. Woods' high-power arm battled once again, but as a result, she tossed another errant pitch, which allowed Stinson to race from third to home and beat the throw to the plate -- she was safe. Celebration ensued, with Mission picking up their first victory of the tournament with a 3-2 win over Leo Pride 05. Even in celebration it looked as if Stinson was in pain, but for that moment, joy trumped any potential pain.
GAME THREE ON THURSDAY:
Looking to build off their momentum and dramatics from Wednesday, Mission '04 faced an early game on Thursday in Newburgh. This time, they were to face the Midwest USSSA Pride.
Mission jumped on Midwest early, scoring six runs in the first inning, showing no signs of a big game hangover.
Midwest USSSA answered back in the bottom of the second with two runs of their own, but Mission all but put the finishing touches on the game in the fourth.
They tacked on an additional six runs, claiming a 12-2 lead and putting the game all but out of reach en route to their 12-5 victory.
Despite a tiring day of pitching yesterday, Gill was summoned once again to pitch and threw a quality outing. She threw 4 2-3 innings of five hit, three-run ball and picked up her second win of the tournament.
A trio of hitters led Mission's offensive outburst in this game, Maleah Armstrong, who hit a pair of doubles, four RBIs and scored two runs of her own, Hannah Parr, who slashed a two-RBI double, and Lang, who contributed a pair of RBIs as well.
With the pair of victories, Mission '04 will begin pool play on Thursday night at 8 p.m. in Newburgh as the No. 1 seed. Pool play will continue into Friday.
Notable combined hitting for Mission '04: Guffey 5-for-11, 2B, R, RBI. Stinson 5-for-9, 3 R, 2 RBIs. Gill 1-for-5, 2 RBIs. Lewis 1-for-6, 2 R, 2 RBIs. Armstrong 3-for-7, 2 2B, 3 R, 4 RBIs. Parr 1-for-7, 2B, 2 RBIs. Carli Merritt 3-for-7, 4 R, RBI.
Notable pitching: Gill (2-0) 14 1-3 IP, 12 H, 11 R, 8 ER, 4 K, 2 BB.
Wabash Mission '06 played just one game on Wednesday, a game against the Fury in Newburgh.
They were also victorious in what was a tremendous day for Mission softball, defeating Fury 8-4 in three innings.
Bella Andrews took the mound for Mission '06 and tossed a quality outing. Andrews threw three innings, striking out four batters and allowing just three hits in her frames of work.
Their bats were led by Presley White and Jozie Carlson's two hits, Abby Hedge, Tenley Davis and Molly Hagerty each having a hit. Davis slashed a pair of RBIs, while Hedge slashed the other RBI for Mission '06.
They'll face a grueling Thursday, starting at 2 p.m. against the Lady Otters at Deaconess Park in Evansville, then subsequently facing the Ohio River Ruckus in a late night game, at 8 p.m. at Deaconess Park. Pool play for Mission '06 will begin on Friday.
Mission '06 pitching: Andrews (1-0) 3 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 K, 3 BB.
Wabash Mission's 10U group, Mission '08, had arguably the best day of any of the teams in the tournament with their play at Boonville. Highlighted by Hoke's no-hitter in game one, Mission '08 seized a pair of wins and positioned themselves extremely well heading into Thursday's play and the ensuing pool play.
In game one Hoke was just dominant on the mound. She allowed one run in the first inning after a pair of walks, but that would be her only blemish of the day.
Trailing 1-0 heading into the second, Hoke's bats backed her up with a solid cushion of run support. Mattie Armstrong slashed a pair of RBIs to begin the inning, followed by Kyleigh Smith scoring another runner to give Mission '08 a 3-1 lead.
Their offense remained stagnant over the remaining few innings, but it didn't matter with Hoke as dominant as she was. Hoke fanned 10 batters in her four innings of work, and put the clamps on the Ruckus' bats en route to her no-hitter and a 3-1 victory.
Looking to remain undefeated, Mission '08 regathered in Boonville after a six-hour layover for their second game of the day against the Indiana Magic Gold.
Hoke replaced Lindsay Simmons in the top of the first after Simmons ran into some trouble and tossed another good game, this time in relief. But the Mission bats highlighted this game.
After their opponents scored two runs in the top of the first off of Hoke, Mission '08 recomposed themselves and scored four runs in the bottom half of the first.
With a lead in hand, they refused to let up, tacking on four additional runs in the bottom of the second to expand their lead to 8-2.
Indiana Magic Gold added a run in the third, but it wasn't enough in this three-inning game, with Mission '08 claiming another victory, this time 8-3.
Their bats this time around were led by Evie Sellers, who went 1-for-2 at the plate with a pair of RBIs, and four other girls -- Lyla Keepes, Hoke, Armstrong, and Quincy Keepes -- who each slashed in a run.
Hoke finished the game with just one hit allowed, six batters fanned and two runs (both unearned) in relief.
They continue play on Thursday at 2 p.m. against the St. Louis Chaos before beginning their pool play as the likely No. 1 seed.
Notable combined hitting for Mission '08: Armstrong 1-for-3, R, 3 RBIs. Smith 1-for-1, R, RBI. Sellers 2-for-3, R, RBI. L. Keepes 1-for-2, 2 R, RBI. Hoke 1-for-3, RBI. Q. Keepes 1-for-2, R, RBI.
Notable Mission '08 pitching: Hoke (2-0) 4 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 16 K, 3 BB.
The first day wasn't as kind to Wabash Mission '10, who faced a pair of high-quality opponents at Boonville on Wednesday.
They lost their first game to the Illinois Ruthless 11-4, then had a quick turn around, just three hours later, and fell to the Bases Loaded Bombers 11-0.
Annelise Garrison led Mission '10's bats with a pair of RBIs in game one, followed by Hayden Brown and Lexi Clendenin each with an RBI.
They'll continue play on Thursday at Boonville with another grueling schedule. First, they'll face the Extreme at 12:30 p.m., followed by the Indiana Fierce at 2 p.m. prior to beginning pool play on Thursday night or early Friday.