July 19, 2009
TUPELO -- Opponents of the Columbus Crush might consider wearing protective gear when they''re out on the field.
Through 17 games, the traditional approach hasn''t worked, so why not try shin guards and catcher''s masks on the infielders.
It couldn''t hurt. With an added layer of protection defenses might be able to beat the Crush.
None of the teams at the USSSA 10-year-old World Series came close Saturday.
The Columbus Crush defeated the Booneville Heat 20-9 to cap a 6-0 showing in two days.
Victories Friday against Meineke Car Care of Tupelo (13-3) and the Lady Bulldogs of Enterprise (30-3) coupled with wins Saturday against the Brown Park All-Stars (16-6), CrossFire (20-0), and 24/7 of Amory (13-3) helped the Columbus Crush run their record to 17-0 and gave the team its fourth consecutive tournament championship.
"It''s wonderful," Columbus Crush coach Tim Frasher said. "This is great right here. It was the same thing (that helped us win this tournament): Good defense and, of course, hitting the ball."
Team members Kelsie Gerhart, Faith Miley, Ashlie Miller, Megan Peoples, Madison Holt, Kaelyn Hankins, Mia Richardson, Mara Ruth, Anna Kate O''Bryant, Mariel Tillis, Kiley Cox, Lindsey Stuart, and Alexis Frasher added the USSSA World Series crown to their Amateur Softball Association state tournament title and first-place finishes in the State Games of Mississippi and the USSSA state tournament.
Frasher said great defense and hitting up and down the lineup have been a potent one-two punch. He said the defense has fueled the offense and helped everyone have fun.
"They just get excited about not giving up any runs and when they get up to hit they don''t want to quit, and I don''t want them to quit," Frasher said. "They are on their toes and making the plays. They are on fire right now and playing real good ball."
n The Columbus Cyclones lost to the Booneville Heat 9-8 Saturday to finish fourth in the USSSA 10-year-old World Series.
The Cyclones kicked off play Friday with losses to Hall Contracting (14-2) and the B-Town Bratz (20-19).
The team lost its first game Saturday to the Brown Park All-Stars 30-15 to kick off the start of double-elimination play.
The Cyclones then defeated the Lady Bulldogs 11-9, Meineke 11-9, and CrossFire before being eliminated.
"We had a great run," Columbus Cyclones coach Calandra Lashley said. "The girls had a great time."
Team members are: Deandreya Sykes, Nakia Dismuke, Kiara Conner, Tiquasha Wilson, Tierra Ledbetter, Tamia Bouldes, Kameryn Lang, Olivia Tate, Kerrington Jones, Sakiya Wilson, Keayra Hughes, and Sarah Jones. Caterrika Lashley and Tristan Johnson also coached the team.
"I don''t know what went wrong with them on Friday, but they got up and they did it today," Calandra Lashley said. "They hung in there, and I am very proud of them."
n The Columbus Heat 12-and-under team finished third Saturday at the USSSA World Series.
The Heat led the Mississippi Outlaws 8-6 in the sixth inning and were three outs from playing in the title game.
Unfortunately, an error to open the inning helped the Outlaws score 10 runs and sent the Heat home after a 3-2 day.
"We didn''t show up consistently," Columbus Heat coach Jason Williams said. "That''s something this group has not done before. Our biggest asset has been our defense, but our defense didn''t show up to this tournament."
Williams said his team typically commits three errors a game. In its 1-2 showing Friday and in its games Saturday, Williams said the team likely committed double-digit errors, which no team can afford if it wants to win.
"We had a good run at it," Williams said. "We had fun and a lot of these girls from the park league learned more in the past six weeks than they did in a lifetime. Second in the state and third in the world is not bad for a little Lowndes County team."
The Heat took third at the State Games of Mississippi in Meridian and second in the Amateur Softball Association Mississippi State Tournament.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.