Rockford, Ill. The Lawrence Phenix-Fyler softball team was shut out for the first time all year before bouncing back to split two games on Saturday at the 18-and-under USSSA Central Region Class B World Series.
The Bartlett, Ill., Silverhawks defeated Phenix-Fyler, 8-0 in the morning semifinal. Lawrence, which came into the day with just two errors in five games, committed three against the Silverhawks. Pitcher Cori Munoz took the loss.
“They handed it to us,” Phenix coach Randy Fyler said. “It was a good overall team. They played good defense; they hit the ball, ran the bases aggressively.”
Fyler said Lawrence’s offense lost some momentum in the first inning, when No. 2-hitter Jasmine Benning jammed an ankle heading into first base. Benning did not return to the game after receiving treatment, and the Phenix couldn’t string together their hits — five in all — for runs.
In the afternoon game, against Annandale, Minn., Hollywood, the offense got back on track for an 8-4 victory.
Benning returned and was one of three Lawrence players — with Rachel Potvin and Munoz — who had two hits in the game. Munoz also scored three runners.
The Phenix defense, led by a complete game from pitcher Lexi Heiniger, also frustrated Hollywood. The Minnesota team stranded ten runners on base.
Phenix-Fyler (6-1 in the tournament, 30-9 overall) plays at 8 a.m. today against the Northern Illinois Thunder. The winner of that game advances to a 10 a.m. bout, which then could lead to the 2 p.m. championship game.
Lawrence won the same USSSA tournament last year in Tulsa, Okla., and is hoping to defend that title. Regardless of today’s outcome, Fyler said he’s proud of the team’s effort to repeat.
“It’s cool that we’ll at least be top four in this one, returning again,” Fyler said.