The 2015 ASA Northern Nationals had 27 teams from seven states around around the Midwest, some of which were ASA state tournament champions.
In pool play on Thursday, the Plover Fastpitch 12’s beat the North Dakota state champs Dickinson Diamonds (Dickinson, ND) by the final score of 15-1 with home runs from Erica Pronshinske and Jenna Hoerter. Plover then defeated the Chicago Fireworks (Chicago, IL) 15-6, led by Ashlyn Chandler’s 3-3 hitting performance, including a double.
With the early wins, Plover earned a #1 seed in bracket play.
Plover won their first bracket play game against the Orange Crush (Kansas City, MO) 10-2 on Friday, but then lost to the Mid-Michigan Heat (Coleman, MI) 16-0 in their first game Saturday morning, which forced the Plover 12’s into the challenging loser’s bracket. Plover faced a win-or-go-home scenario for the next four straight games on Saturday.
In those four games on Saturday afternoon, the Plover 12’s battled from behind in every contest in 90 degree heat. Here are the highlights:
- Game #1: Plover 12’s beat the Eastview Lightning Black (Apple Valley, MN) 7-6. After being down 6-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Plover scored three runs, highlighted by a dramatic walk-off single by Kennedy VanderLoop.
- Game #2: Plover came back to beat Hallie Tri-City Storm (Eau Claire, WI) 8-5. After the Plover 12’s found themselves down 5-2 after three innings, the team fought back to secure the win. The game’s key hit was off the bat of Jenna Eilers, who swatted a two-RBI triple in the fourth inning.
- Game #3: Down 2-0 in the 6th inning against the Michigan State Champion NBGSA Inferno, the Plover 12’s scored five runs, with big hits coming from Olivia Schustek’s solo home run, followed by Haley Raflik’s grand slam inside the park home run, to put Plover ahead 5-2. Plover hung on for a 5-3 victory.
- Game #4: In a legendary 12U softball game, the Plover 12’s went back and forth with the Rochester Outlaws the entire game. Down 12-9 in the top of the sixth inning, they scored two runs to get to 12-11, but with the time limit clock clicking down on the scoreboard, the Plover 12’s only had two and a half minutes to get three outs in the bottom of the sixth in order to bat again in the seventh. In a very intense and dramatic bottom of the sixth, Plover pitcher Jaden Jones, quickly firing pitches to Rochester, got the first two batters out, then only had 20 seconds left on the third Rochester batter. The Rochester batter took the first pitch, and, with only five seconds left on the release of the second pitch, bunted the ball back to Jaden, who fielded it and fired to first base get the third out with only one second left on the time limit clock. Plover had new life in the top of the seventh, and went on to score five runs with key RBI hits from Hannah Melum and Olivia Schustek. After giving up two runs in the bottom of the seventh, the Plover 12’s held on to get the dramatic 16-14 win, to make it to championship Sunday.
On Sunday, with three teams remaining out of 27, Plover needed to beat the Mid-Michigan Heat, who beat Plover 16-0 on Saturday, to get into the Northern Nationals championship game! Plover got off to a fast start, scoring five runs in the first three innings, and then exploded for 10 runs in the fourth to end the game by the 15-run rule, with 2 RBI from Maddie Kvatek, Haley Raflik, Erica Pronschinske, Jenna Eilers and Jenna Hoerter, respectively.
Plover needed to win two games against the Crunch 02 (Kansas City, KS), because of the double elimination format. In the first game, the Plover was led by key RBI hits from Jenna Hoerter (2 RBI home run), and Madi Hintz (2 RBI double), and beat the Crunch 02 team 5-4, after being down again 2-0 going into the fifth inning.
Going into their eighth game in 26 hours, the Plover 12’s battled hard through physical exhaustion, but lost the second game 8-1 to the Crunch 02 to earn the National Championship runner-up trophy.
The Plover 12’s coaching staff and families are very proud of the 11 hard fighting, never-give-up Plover 12’s players, who battled hard through through the 2015 ASA Northern Nationals Tournament.
Plover 12’s are now 39-5 overall on the season.
Key 2015 ASA Northern Nationals 12U Class B Tournament Highlights for the Plover Fastpitch 12’s:
- Team batting average of .390, on base % .431, slugging % .524
- Team pitching: 3.52 ERA, 54 strikeouts; opponent’s batting average .277
- Jenna Hoerter led the Plover 12’s with a .486 tourney batting average, also had two home runs. Maddie Hintz, Haley Raflik, Erica Pronschinske and Olivia Schustek also hit home runs
Plover Fastpitch 12’s Roster:
#5 Ashlyn Chandler
#17 Jenna Eilers
#13 Olivia Schustek
#34 Madi Hintz
#27 Haley Raflik
#22 Erica Pronschinske
#12 Hannah Melum
#10 Jenna Hoerter
#14 Kennedy VanderLoop
#11 Jaden Jones
#00 Maddie Kvatek