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Timberwolves advance to finals

Stephanie King

After having the first round rained out on Monday, the middle school softball tournament got underway Wednesday afternoon. The top four teams advanced to the semifinals on Wednesday. In semifinal number one, the second seeded NERMS Huskies took on the third seeded UMS Timberwolves. The Huskies finished the regulars season 12-2, while the Timberwolves finished 11-3.

The Timberwolves were up to bat first and took an early 1-0 lead over the Huskies. Alley Lowe got on base with a double to right field and was moved to third after a bunt from Kelsey Payne. Payne would be thrown out at first for out number one. Tia Lunsford picked up out number two after her pop up was caught by Emma Mazzarone of NERMS. A single from Carmen Minton scored Lowe for the Timberwolves first run. Maddie Duvall had her hit caught for out number three.

In the bottom first, the Huskies wasted no time putting a runner on base as Edi Austin singled to center. Madison Varner of UMS struck out Liberty Beane for the first out. McKayla McClain sent a deep hit into the outfield, scoring Austin. McClain tried to give the Huskies another run, but she would be tagged out as she slid into home. Varner would strike out Shae Leonard for out number three. After one inning of play, this one was all tied up at 1-1.

UMS got the bats going in the top of the second as they brought four runs across the plate for a 4-1 lead. Varner drew a walk and Emma Snow bunted to put runners on base for the Timberwolves. Snow would reach second on the bunt after an overthrown ball, giving UMS two runners in scoring position. A single to center from Leah Hughes scored both runners to put the Timberwolves in front 3-1. The Huskies would pick up back to back outs before giving Payne a free base by hitting her in the leg with a pitch. A hit from Lunsford brought Izzy Flores into score. Payne would score off a pop up from Minton. The Timberwolves loaded the bases moments later after Duvall drew a walk, but all three runners were left stranded as the Huskies got the final out of the inning. UMS opened the bottom of the second with back to back outs before giving up a single to Mazzarone. Sammy Craven would be tagged out at first for the final out. After two innings of play, UMS led 5-1.

NERMS’ defense got the job done in the top of the third as they held the Timberwolves scoreless. Hughes was the Timberwolf to reach base in the inning. The Huskies went to work in the bottom of the inning and were able to cut into the lead. With one out on the board, Austin doubled to center to put a runner in scoring position. She would reach third after a hit from Beane, but Beane would be tagged out at first. McClain was given an automatic walk, putting two runners on base for the Huskies. A single from Leonard scored Austin to cut the lead to 5-2. Reann Saunders up out at first for out number three.

The Timberwolves could not get anything going in the top of the fourth as they were unable to score any runs. Lunsford was the only player to reach base after she was hit with a pitch. In the bottom of the inning, Morgan Gruer opened things up the Huskies with a single. She would reach second and then steal third moments later during Mazzarone’s at bat. Mazzarone scored Gruer with a hit, but was out at first for out number one. Varner would close out the inning for the Timberwolves with back to back strikeouts.

UMS was forced to got three up, three down in the top of the fifth, but they would not let the Huskies capitalize in the bottom of the inning. NERMS left two runners stranded in the bottom of the inning as neither team could score. After five innings, UMS led 5-3.

NERMS’ defense continued to play strong as they forced the Timberwolves to go three up, three down for the second straight inning. With one out on the board in the bottom of the inning, Mazzarone tripled to put a runner in scoring position for the Huskies. UMS would pick up out number two moments later. Mazzarone would score off a single from Katie Jo Staley to cut the lead one. UMS would pick up the final out to end the inning. After six innings, NERMS trailed the Timberwolves 5-4.

Neither team would be able to bring any runners across the plate in the seventh inning as the Timberwolves advance to the championship game with a 5-4 win over the Huskies. NERMS finishes the season 12-3.

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