Wheelersburg girls are playing in the World Series.
There is something special about the run that this Wheelersburg team has went on this post season. It would be enough to say that them winning each of their games this postseason, allowing them to go to the Little League Softball World Series is an incredible feat that very few can say they have accomplished. But that would take away from the absolute domination that the Wheelersburg 11/12 year old Little League softball team has shown over this week’s Central Region tournament in Zionsville, Indiana. Not a single game was ever really in doubt, from start to finish. From the moment that each pitcher took the mound, it was evident that this group of girls were incredibly special. Not only in the way they performed on the field, but how efficient they were in doing so.
Wheelersburg won their semifinal game against Pittsfield LL (Ill.) Friday morning by a final score of 10-0 after five innings. For the third straight day, pitching ace Ashlee “Monk” Spence took the mound and was once again nearly un-hittable. On the heels of her perfect game through four innings on Thursday, Spence only allowed two hits in the semifinal matchup, bringing her total number of hits allowed in her three starts to three.
On the offensive side of the ball, Sydney Salyers and Haley Myers were the stories of the game for the pirates. Salyers, who’s father is head coach Dusty Salyers, ended the first game of the day with three hits and two RBI. Myers finished the day with two hits and three RBI in route to her team’s decisive 10-0 win. For the third straight game, Burg was able to end the game before all six innings could take place thanks to the Little League softball mercy rules.
After this game, Wheelersburg was outscoring their opponents 87-1 in post season play, and 38-0 in the Central Region tournament. ESPN color commentator for the week of games, Leigh Dakich, said of Wheelersburg, “All parts of their game are on fire right now. If I’m facing Ohio, we have to play our perfect game”.
This victory punched the Pirates ticket to the championship game later Friday evening, in which they would face off against the team representing Iowa, Johnston Girls Softball LL. Johnston, who joined Wheelersburg as the only undefeated team left in the tournament, secured their place in the championship after their defeat of the team representing Missouri, Daniel Boone American LL 9-2.
The championship game began with someone we had not seen on the mound since Wheelersburg’s opening game of the tournament, ace pitcher AndiJo Howard. Howard, who threw a no-hitter in the team’s opening win over Floyds Knobs (Ind.), was anything short of incredible once again. Helped by the excellent play of her fielders, Howard mowed through the Johnston lineup, just as she had Floyds Knobs earlier in the week. Howard did give up the only run allowed by the Wheelersburg team all tournament. Yet it was irrelevant to the final result, and Burg defeated Johnston Girls Softball LL (Iowa) 3-1. Howard finished the game with thirteen strikeouts, bringing her total number to twenty-five over her two starts.
Johnston pitched and defended the Pirates better than any of their post season competition to this point, only allowing two hits and three runs against the Pirates. The Pirates offensive performance was headlined by Mia Mowery and Haley Myers, who each had one RBI respectively. After Friday’s championship game in the Central Region tournament, Wheelersburg has outscored their opponents 90-2 so far in their postseason play this season.
Wheelersburg will become one of the six representatives from the United States, and one of ten teams from around the world that will compete for the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon August 8th-15th. Teams that have so far punched their tickets to the World Series include teams from Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, the Philippines, and the Czech Republic. Wheelersburg will begin their World Series run against the representative of Latin America, who has not yet been determined, on August 8th at 7 p.m.
For the World Series, each team is placed into one of two pools along with four other teams, making two pools of five teams. The teams in each pool all play each other in a round robin style event. The team with the worst record and worst run differential in each pool will be eliminated, and the remaining eight teams will be placed into an eight team single elimination tournament, with the championship game on Wednesday, August 15th. Teams will be seeded in the eight person tournament according to their record and run differential in pool play.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT