Competing against high school players two years older than her didn’t faze Rock ‘n’ Fire shortstop Brittney Lyddane last weekend.
The Benton Middle School star hit three home runs, including a game-winning blast in the semifinals, to lead the heralded 14-and-under squad to the NSA 16U Queen of the Hill Tournament championship in Petersburg.
Having already captured the NSA state title and the ASA Central Atlantic Region title, Rock ‘n’ Fire went unbeaten in seven games against a 21-team field that featured 19 16-and-under teams. After Lyddane’s home run produced a 1-0 semifinals victory over the tournament favorite Richmond Storm, the Prince William County all-star squad outlasted 14U rival Fire & Ice, 8-7, in the finals.
“The championship game turned into a wild and exciting event,” head coach Don Lyddane said.
So was the semifinal.
In addition to Lyddane’s homer, Potomac sophomore Shyla Rider tossed a complete-game shutout and Gar-Field sophomore Becky Horesky started three double plays at third base.
Fire & Ice defeated an outstanding 16U Sudden Impact team, 4-3, to reach the finals.
Rock ‘n’ Fire (63-8 overall) scored 48 runs and allowed only 14, but three of their victories came by one-run margins.
OUTSIDERS QUALIFY FOR PONY NATIONALS
The Prince William Outsiders arrived at Dickinson College for a college showcase tournament last weekend with one specific goal in mind: to capture a berth in the PONY national championships.
A 4-3 record and a fifth place finish got the job done.
“We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, which was earning a berth to PONY Nationals,” Outsiders coach Tony Catino said.
Fresh off a first-place finish at the 18-and-under NSA state tournament, the Outsiders played in front of an estimated 50 college scouts and clinched their third national tournament berth of the summer.
“We were in every game we played,” said Catino, whose team has also qualified for the NSA World Series. “It was definitely a challenge. The competition level was really high. It was tougher than the state tournament.”
Only eight of the tournament’s 18 participating teams advanced to the PONY qualifying round and the Outsiders made the cut with a 9-1 victory over Schyukill, a 3-0 win over Wyoming Valley and a 5-4 triumph over the Pennsylvania Spirit.
Two of the team’s loses came against teams comprised mostly of college players, including the Pennsylvania Explosion, which scored four runs in the seventh for a 6-2 win on the final day of competition.
“They are best team we faced all year, bar none,” Catino said.
The Outsiders also had their share of success against college-level teams as Osbourn ace Lydia Sumner shut out the Johnstown (Pa.) Jewels, 3-0, on Sunday.
Sumner had two wins and a save, while Gar-Field pitcher Samantha Posey also picked up two wins in the circle for the Outsiders.
BABE RUTH STATE TOURNAMENT
The Greater Manassas Softball League is hosting the 2002 Babe Ruth State Tournament this weekend at the Jenny Dean Elementary School softball complex in Manassas.
The Manassas Blaze will have teams competing in the 10-and-under, 12-and-under, 14-and-under and 16-and-under divisions.
More than 30 teams are expected to participate in the three-day tournament with games beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The tournament championship games are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Dave Utnik covers softball for the Potomac News & Manassas Journal-Messenger. Reach him at (703) 878-8051 or at [email protected]