Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Kimball Gold 12U Minnesota Metro Fast Pitch rec league state champions
By Linda Merchant, coach
The Kimball Gold 12U fast pitch team attended the Minnesota Metro Fast Pitch rec league state championship competition in Buffalo over the weekend and came out as the champions. The team finishes their season with an impressive overall record of 29 wins and only 3 losses. What a huge accomplishment for this team to become the state champions of the 12U rec division of the Minnesota Metro league.
Our first game Saturday, July 28,
was against a tough Hutchinson Lightning team. The girls had some state tourney jitters and our bats just couldn't find the hits early in the game. We had very strong pitching all weekend long from Katie Merchant and Kenzie Leither, which kept us in the game until our bats woke up. We beat Hutchinson by a score of
5 to 1. Our next game was against Cloquet and we were much more relaxed, and really had some good hitting from Katie Spaulding, Erin O'Brien, Katie Merchant, Melanie Loehrer and Rachel Mertens. We handled Cloquet easily by a score of 10 to 1. We then came up against Brownton, which we played in the state qualifier, and knew they are a very good team. We were able to put up 8 runs in the first inning, but Brownton was able to score
4 in their bottom of the inning. The girls had determination and did not want to lose this game. We had outstanding defensive play by Julia Zipoy, Krista Loch, Rachel Mertens and Abbey Schiefelbein. Kenzie Leither came in relief for Katie Merchant who had some trouble with the heat. Kenzie pitched a very good game, and we came out on top of Brownton with a score of 10 to 4, and the girls earned the right to play in the championship Sunday, July 29. We didn't know who we would face until we got to the field on Sunday, and again it would be Brownton for the first-place title. The girls were relaxed and knew the job they had to get done. They had worked hard all year to get to where they were and did not want to miss the chance to be state champs. Katie Merchant took the mound and pitched an excellent game. She got into a couple of jams, but the defense came through. We had key defensive plays by Danielle Terwey-Lyrek and Katie Spaulding. Danielle had a huge catch in right field and Katie Spaulding, catcher, had a big throw down to first base to Melanie Loehrer to pick a girl off of first base. All the girls had key at-bats in this game to score us runs. Emily Tadych had excellent at-bats, getting on base both times and coming around to score. We led the whole game, and never let down. We continued to play hard and score runs. The score was 8 to 0 when we came up to bat in the bottom of the 3rd inning. We knew that if we scored 4 runs, the championship would be ours. Brownton's pitchers had been struggling all game, and we were able to get on base because of walks. Brownton's pitcher walked in 1 run and we still needed 3 more to put the game away. Katie Merchant came up to bat with bases loaded and two outs. Katie quickly got 2 strikes on her and was in a hole, but she would not give in to the pitcher. Katie launched a pitch into right center to score the three runs needed for the Kimball Gold Team to win the championship in three innings by a score of
12 to 0. Cubs win! Cubs win! The girls got the job done. They all worked so hard to achieve this goal. We had girls give up family vacations, come home early from vacation and even Little Miss Kimball and her princess gave up riding in a parade just so they could be with the team and play the game they love. Each and every member of this team contributed to this victory in some way, and they truly did play as a team. The coaches are so proud to have had the opportunity to be a part of this team. It has been a GREAT season.
Special thanks to our dedicated book keeper and bench mom, Dee Leither, who was there every game, keeping the girls in the right line up, but also keeping the coaches in line. Thank you to all the parents of the girls. We know that you all make lots of sacrifices in your busy lives to get the girls to games and practices. Without your support, we would not have achieved this goal. Be proud of your daughters. Thank you to all the fans that came out and supported us all weekend. You could see by the people wearing blue and gold in the crowd, it doesn't matter what team your daughter plays on, in the end we are all from Kimball and couldn't be prouder. Lastly, we would like to thank the Kimball Booster club for their continued support of youth athletics. Without them none of this would be possible. Thanks to the booster club, the future of Kimball girls' fast pitch is very bright. On behalf of the coaching staff, we are so proud to have coached this group of young women. They worked hard all season and brought home the state championship. It was a fantastic season. Kimball, be proud of your 12U girls Minnesota Metro Fast Pitch State Champions! Way to go, CUBS!