The Crow River Revolution Blue 14U team battled adversity and won the Minnesota softball 14U Tier 1 state tournament played in Cottage Grove on July 22-23.
Due to injuries and illness, the Revolution was down to nine players going into the tournament. Due to a conflict, they were also without head coach Dawn Engebretson, who had guided them to a multiple strong tournament performances over the summer. To add even more drama and intensity, all five victories were decided by one run.
In the first game against Prescott, the Revolution surrendered 3 runs in the top of the first inning. Prescott used a combination of solid hitting, aggressive baserunning, and some misplays in the field by the Revolution, to jump out early. Prescott added a run in the top of the 3rd, and the deficit grew to 4 to 0 for the Revolution. The Revolution’s bats came to life in the bottom of the 3rd as they scored 2 runs to cut the lead to 4 to 2. Pitcher Elise Weinzierl settled into a groove and held Prescott scoreless as the Revolution chipped away and were able to tie the score 4 to 4 in the last inning to force extra innings. After neither team scored in the first extra inning, Prescott scored 2 runs in the top of the eighth to set up a dramatic rally for the Revolution. Makayla Graunke hit a triple to score Ellie Sather for one run, followed by an RBI single by Sara Byers that tied the score. After Byers stole second base, Alayna Manning hit a single to score Byers for the winning run and a 7 to 6 victory.
Game two saw the Revolution matched up against the Lady Crush. The Revolution took a 1 to 0 lead in the bottom of the second. Pitcher Gracie Kate LeMonds, helped her own cause with an RBI single scoring Emma Miller. After two scoreless innings, the Lady Crush got on the board against LeMonds in the third, scoring twice. After adding another run, the Lady Crush held a 3 to 1 lead going into the bottom of the last inning. The Revolution were able to get back to back singles from Weinzierl and Graunke. After a passed ball allowed the runners to advance to scoring position, Ellie Sather had a clutch 2 run RBI to tie the game. Then with two outs, Khulyn Johnson beat out an infield hit to score Sather with the winning run.
Game three saw the Revolution slowly build a 4 to 0 lead after three innings against Soderville. Hannah Greeno provided an important RBI to give the Revolution an early lead. Behind a strong start in the pitching circle by Graunke, it appeared the Revolution may have a less dramatic game. An inning that included 4 walks and 2 errors quickly changed that, as Soderville cut the lead to 4 to 3. After failing to add to the lead, the Revolution had to wiggle out of a bases loaded, no out situation to hold on and win. LeMonds and Weinzierl each pitched in relief of Graunke.
Day two of the tournament started with a game against Stillwater. Weinzierl had a dominant performance, as she kept the Ponies scoreless. Unfortunately for the Revolution, the Stillwater pitcher was equally good, as the Revolution stranded 8 base runners in 6 innings. Then in the 7th, with the bases loaded and 2 outs, Khulyn Johnson came through again with a bases clearing double. Weinzierl worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, with the help of a great defensive play by Greeno at first base, and the Revolution were on to the championship game.
While Stillwater was able to win their way back for the right to face the Revolution again, they would need to win twice.
The first game saw the Ponies take a 5 to 2 lead into the sixth inning before the Revolution would tie the score on 4 hits in the bottom of the inning. This time the Revolution couldn’t complete the dramatic win, as Stillwater scored 3 in the top of the seventh inning to cap a 8 to 5 win.
Gracie Kate LeMonds was given the ball to start pitching in the winner take all second game, and she responded by holding the Ponies scoreless through 3 innings. Singles by Johnson, Miller and Weinzierl gave the Revolution a 2 to 0 lead. Another big hit by Khulyn Johnson drove in a third run, and the Revolution were up 3 to 0. Stillwater put together a rally to cut the lead to 3 to 2, but Weinzierl came on to get the save and give the Revolution the championship.