Newberg — Entering Sunday’s semifinal, Tiger Rage 14U allowed only one run in their 5-1 and 21-0 wins in pool play, showing flashes of strength entering their showdown with the Dallas Lady Dragons, who fought hard with Hub City and blew out NW Mayhem. Tiger Rage drew first blood against Dallas, scoring on a dropped third strike after stealing second and advancing to third on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first. In the second, Cecelia Petraitis hit a leadoff single. After a flyball advanced the courtesy runner to third, an errant throw to third base allowed the runner to score, giving the Tiger Rage a 2-0 lead in the second.
Fast forward to the top of the seventh, with Tiger Rage still leading 2-0, Dallas hit a leadoff single to start the frame. After stealing second, a double brought home the runner, cutting the lead to 2-1 Tiger Rage. The Lady Dragons went back to back doubles, tying the game at two and sparking life into the team. Briley Ingram would strikeout the final two hitters, keeping it tied into the bottom of the seventh. International tiebreaker rules went into effect in the eighth, with a runner being placed on second in each frame for the teams. In the ninth, after a scoreless eighth, Ingram struck out the leadoff hitter. After a sac bunt moved the runner to third, Ingram threw a wild pitch, allowing the runner to score and giving Dallas the 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, Petraitis drilled a single, allowing the runner to score and tie the game up at 3-3. After her wild pitch gave up the tie game, Ingram came through for her own and team cause, hitting the game winning single to send Tigers Rage to the championship game less than five minutes later against the Nighthawks.
After switching fields, the ensuing title game turned into a pitcher’s duel, with both starters throwing gems the entire stretch. Combined, both pitchers threw 22 strikeouts in the game, but it came down to the final frame of the game. Lily Brown led off the bottom of the seventh with a single for Tigers Rage, and after a groundout and strikeout, setup Bryason Conway with a runner on third and two outs. Conway delivered, drilling a single through short and handing Tigers Rage a 14U Gold Bracket Championship at the National UFO Weekend Tournament.
The Sunday heroes Bryason Conway and Briley Ingram talked afterwards about the weekend and previewed the path forward for Tigers Rage…
Conway on the team performance, “I think we did really well considering its our first weekend, and only having a couple of practices. We’ve been struggling in the outfield, but we did our best out there, and Briley did an amazing job pitching this weekend.”
Ingram on her weekend in the circle, “I felt at the beginning of the weekend I was really focused and working hard, and today was really hard but I felt I did really good hitting my strikes and holding the batters all day.”
Conway on team chemistry, “We have a lot of team chemistry because a lot of us have been playing together for a really long time, so we all know what we do for each other and what everyone needs to be doing. We have good chemistry and it showed.”
Ingram on the defensive help, “I think the defense really struggled Friday and yesterday, but today they played really, really well and I don’t recall even seeing an error today. I mean I worked to keep everyone up, keep everyone motivated, and I felt that was a big part of it.”