The 18U Vermillion Flamez ended their summer season at the USA Softball 18U "A" Girl's Fastpitch Northern Nationals.
The Flamez competed last Thursday and Friday in Sioux Falls. They had tough competition in all four of their games in the tournament’s A division.
“The A division was challenging as many of the teams are made up of all-star players,” said head coach Stacey Baedke. “However, our team had the ability to play at that level.”
Last Thursday, Vermillion played their first game against the Clutch Hitters from Hanson. The Flamez fell 5-13.
The Clutch Hitters scored one in the second inning and two in the third to take a 3-run lead. Vermillion came back as they scored five runs in the bottom of the third to pull ahead 5-3.
The opponents scored three in the fourth to regain the lead. They scored another one in the fifth and six in the sixth while holding off the Flamez.
Vermillion did not to add to their score, losing 5-13.
The Flamez had four hits and three errors in game 1. The Clutch Hitters had 16 hits and four errors.
Emily Stockwell pitched over three innings for the Flamez and tallied 15 first-pitch strikes. Andrea Johnson threw just over two innings. She had 11 first-pitch strikes and one strikeout.
Later that day, the Flamez competed against the Gold Glove Midwest. Vermillion lost 2-7 after the competition captured an early lead.
The Gold Glove Midwest scored one run in the first inning and two in the second to take a 3-0 lead.
The Flamez responded with two in the third, but the competition kept their bats going on offense.
The opponents scored three more runs in the fourth and one in the sixth. Vermillion remained scoreless in the last three innings, losing 2-7.
The Flamez had eight hits and four errors in game 2. The Gold Glove Midwest had seven hits and one error.
At bat, Regan Weisbeck had two hits for Vermillion.
From the circle, E. Stockwell pitched the game. She recorded five strikeouts and 22 first-pitch strikes.
Friday, the Flamez played PSA Patterson. It was a close game but did not fall in Vermillion’s favor as they lost 2-4.
The game remained scoreless throughout the first three innings. The Flamez scored the first run in the top of the fourth inning, and PSA Patterson responded with one in the bottom of the inning.
Each team scored another run in the fifth inning to keep the game tied 2-2.
The opponents scored two in the bottom of the sixth to take a 2-run lead on Vermillion. The Flamez were scoreless in the seventh and lost 2-4.
Both teams had nine hits and two errors in Vermillion’s third game of Nationals.
From the plate, Weisbeck recorded one RBI and two hits. Sydney Stockwell also had one RBI, and Bizzy Wood had two hits.
In the circle, E. Stockwell pitched over four innings. She tallied 16 first-pitch strikes and one strikeout. Johnson also threw and had one strikeout.
In their final game of Nationals, the Flamez played KC Speed. They battled, but Vermillion lost 4-7.
KC Speed was the first on the board as they scored five runs in the third inning. The Flamez fought back to score four runs in the fifth to be down one, 4-5.
The opponents scored two more runs in the sixth inning and held Vermillion from coming back. The Flamez fell 4-7.
Vermillion recorded 11 hits and six errors in game 4. KC Speed had nine hits and one error.
Alisha Leber had two RBIs for the Flamez.
E. Stockwell pitched game 4 and recorded 25 strikeouts along with two strikeouts.
The Flamez finished their season 20-15-1. Leber, Payton Vellek, and Kailee Brinkmann played their final game as a part of the Flamez.
“We had a great group of senior leaders this year,” said coach Baedke. “The best part of them is they all brought a different leadership style to the team. We had a vocal leader, we had a leader by example, and a versatile leader. They have been a huge part of making this softball program into something successful and will be greatly missed.”
The players will miss the memories and close bonds they created with their teammates throughout the years.
“Getting to play alongside my teammates will definitely be the part I miss most about Flamez softball,” said Leber. “Softball is one of those things that makes me genuinely happy, and it is all because of my teammates and coaches. When I was younger, I was never really into softball until this team took me in and made me love the sport and playing with them. I’m going to miss getting to spend most of the year with my team.”
Vellek will miss the softball family she became a part of.
“I will miss everything about Flamez softball,” said Vellek. “The one thing I will miss most is how they accepted me with open arms since I was one of the only girls not from Vermillion. That team made me feel like I was at home and they pushed me to better myself. I can only thank Flamez softball because I would not be where I am today without the Flamez.”
Brinkmann will miss the memories and seeing the team continue in their successes.
“After walking off the field of my last softball game, I knew that I was going to miss being a part of this great softball program,” said Brinkmann. “I will miss watching my teammates grow and accomplish their goals. I will miss the goofy times and even the tough times that came along with this sport. I am so incredibly grateful to those involved in this amazing journey through the many seasons of softball with the Flamez.”
Softball will continue in the fall for the Vermillion High School Tanagers.