Hummers dominate Sirens in pool play, finish third place overall

There was no place like home for the Hummers on Saturday at the Wham Bam Slam at Clinton Lake Softball Complex.

That was the case not only because most of the Lawrence-based Hummers team was playing on its own turf, but also because each Hummers batter visited home plate at least once during their first game of pool play against the Sirens.

The Hummers won the game, 11-0, just a week after defeating the Sirens, 7-0, in a tournament in Blue Springs. The first win qualified the Hummers for the American Fastpitch Association’s National B Tournament, which also will take place at CLSC.

“We were ready for them and knew what to expect,” Hummers catcher Dacia Sprow said. “A lot of same teams are in a lot of AFA qualifiers so see a lot of the same teams.”

This win was not the same as the team’s other victories, though.

“We’ve had four different types of wins,” Hummers coach Barry Sprow said.

The Hummers had won after rain delays and tie-breakers but had yet to experience success like they did against the Sirens on Saturday.

“This is the first time we really dominated,” Hummers coach Brain Wagner said. “It’s good to actually play softball. They are really playing as a team.”

After getting a two-run lead in the first inning, the Hummers suffered a short pause in their offensive action in the second inning, going down one-two-three before an explosive third inning.

Second baseman Livi Abney started off the top of the third inning by hitting the ball off of the centerfield fence for a double.

After advancing to third, Abney scored on a pass ball. Chloe Hall slap-bunted for a single and advanced Kelly Spence, who had gotten on base with a walk, to third. Ashley Wagner then brought in Spence with a hit.

With the bases loaded, Dacia Sprow hit a pitch over the Sirens centerfielder’s head and to the fence for a double that drove in two runs.

When asked if the fact that the tournament offered incentives for home runs sparked her long ball, Sprow said she was just trying to help her team.

“I was just trying to get base hits,” she said.

Brooke Abney continued the offensive outburst by reaching first and loading the bases up again for Jesse Baer. Baer brought two more Hummers home with a double, and Diane Riat’s single produced another run for the Hummers as Baer scored on the play.

Livi repeated her performance from her previous at-bat by hitting the centerfield fence on the bounce, near the same spot as her last hit. Still having not recorded an out, the Sirens switched pitchers to attempt to cool down the Hummers’ hot bats.

The Hummers responded to the new pitcher by using base running to keep their rally alive. Riat scored on a passed ball just before Spence advanced to first base on a dropped third strike.

Hall reached base on an error, but the Sirens’ defense responded on the next play when Wagner hit the ball directly at the Sirens shortstop, who tagged out Spence en route to third, and threw to first for a double play. Ashley Vice flew out to the third baseman to end the 10-run, seven-hit third inning for the Hummers.

Defensively the Hummers shone as well. After allowing a lead-off single, the Hummers infield extinguished all of the Sirens’ hopes of putting a runner in scoring position. Wagner said having the opportunity to practice paid off with defensive success.

“We worked on turning double plays Thursday at practice,” Wagner said. “Then in the game we turned one double play and almost turned two.”

Hall, Livi and Brooke teamed for a 6-4-3 double play with ease in the bottom of the third inning. Hall flung a ground ball to first for the final out of the inning.

The Hummers hitters threatened to score again in the final inning of play with two hits, but they couldn’t add any additional insurance runs. They kept the shutout alive with a one-two-three final inning.

After a short break, the Hummers wrapped up pool play with a 7-3 victory against the Hugoton Heat.

The Heat came back to beat the Hummers 7-6 in their first game of bracket play. After suffering another loss to the Heat, the Hummers ended the tournament with a third place finish.

The Hummers hope that they can maintain the hot bats they had against the Sirens away from home when they travel to Colorado today for a tournament June 24-26.