United defeats Aledo for Little Six crown
ALEDO -- In a surprise match-up in the title game, North Henderson-United defeated Aledo 9-3 to claim the championship of the the senior division Tri-County Little Six fast pitch softball tournament.
United player Megan Patterson said she was happy for both teams.
"We were excited to see them. We have been kind of close and get a long really good," Patterson said of the Aledo team while putting a sock on her bat as seen in the movie Major League. "I am proud of our team and Aledo did a good job too."
Aledo entered play Saturday at 4-10 on the season but upset the Monmouth Stingrays 7-5 in a semifinal. Their victory in that game ended the possibility of a Stingrays versus United championship game.
United, playing without starters Bre Christian, Augusta Chandler and Gina Long who were vacationing in the Ozarks, jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. RBI singles from pitcher Amy Olson and Ashlynn Winkler keyed the rally.
Olson, pitched a compete game victory and was in control every inning but the sixth. The scrappy Aledo team rallied to tie the score in that inning on three hits and a rare steal of home. Aledo pitcher Allie Kellog provided the teams offensive highlights of the game in the inning. She cracked a two-run, one-out triple to make the score 3-2 then stole home. Kellog broke for home when the United catcher threw back to Olson after neglecting to make Kellog return to third.
Olson out nine, including the final two batters in the sixth to end the threat. She walked one and gave up seven hits.
"To end the season on a good note is a great feeling," Olson said.
United responded with authority in the bottom of the sixth. After Lexi Perry was retired on strikes to start the inning, six consectuvie batters reached base and scored. The rally was punctuated by a two-run double crushed to right-center field by Celsie Crain that put United back up by three at 6-3.
In the first inning, Crain hit a foul ball that rocketed above the Aledo dug out, directly into a light bank, shattering a light and sending shards of glass down onto fans.
Perry, Cassie Bushnell (single and double) and Megan Pratt also had base hits for United.
While United won the game, Aledo second baseman Kanita Keller was the defensive star of the game. Keller made a series of four difficult catches of fading pop flys in shallow right field that kept her team in the game.
"I just went after them because I knew we needed to catch them to be in the game," she said. "We lost a lot but made a great comeback at the end of the year. I didn't think we'd get these (trophies)."
Kellog pitched well for Aledo, striking out seven and walking just three. She gave up just seven hits.
The Aledo coach was proud of the teams late season rebound.
"We pulled together as a team. This was great we felt good about the day and were very pumped," said Milly Yelm. "Kanita played great defense and Allie did a great job pitching."
North Henderson-United coach John Patterson was also pleased.
"We were shocked that we were not meeting the Monmouth Stingrays," Patterson said. "The girls came toghether really well. Winning the title means a lot to me and to the girls."
United's Rachael Kenney could not hide her joy while grinning ear to ear.
"This is amazing. I am really happy," she said. "This proves we are not just about one or two people, that we are a team. I am proud of us."
United firnished 14-0.