After going 1-1 in pool play of the American Fastpitch Assn. "B" National Tournament, Phenix-Fyler took on the Harvard (Ill.) Sting in the first round of bracket play.
The game got off to a strong start for Phenix-Fyler, which took a 1-0 lead on a RBI from Audrey Chavez. Three runners were stranded on base when Emily Lamb struck out to end the inning, though.
The one-run lead was not safe for long, as in the bottom of the inning the Stings took advantage of a couple of walks and fielding errors to take the lead.
Stacey Weidner came home on an RBI from Lani Hoey, and Emily Nolen and Jannet Garcia each drove in a run. At the end of the first inning, the Sting had a 3-1 lead.
No runs scored in the top of the second inning because of solid pitching and fielding from the Sting.
Phenix-Fyler responded with some solid defense of their own in the bottom half of the frame. First baseman Kay Norte tagged the runner out at first after a pop fly for a double play to end the inning. After a ground-out to start the third, Phenix got its bats going. And, on a single from Hannah Somers, one run came across the plate. Two batters later, Chelsea Carnagie drove in another run to tie the game at 3-all. It was a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third and pushed the game to the fourth and decisive inning.
A lead-off single from Jordan Van Houtan that was hit hard to the shortstop put the go-ahead run on first. With two outs Caitlin Bowlin stepped to the plate and knocked an RBI double to centerfield. Somers followed with a walk. Then, with two runners on base, Chavez responded by driving in both teammates with a double to right center field. Phenix went into the last inning hoping to hold onto a three-run lead.
Solid pitching and sharp reactions from second baseman Carnagie helped to end the inning on two pop fly balls. Phenix-Fyler won their first game in bracket play, 6-3.
"When the game started, I had a nervous feeling about this team," Fyler said. "In the first inning they stirred things up and we were just a little flat. Luckily we picked it up and got our bats going when we needed the runs."
Phenix was missing three players, so for the first two days of the tournament they had to piece things together. "I am happy with the way the infield played," Fyler said. "This is the fourth time Carnagie has been at second and she played well. It is all about communication between the infielders." Fyler went on to have a good showing the the tournament and took home fifth place.