West Salem — On what has been a beautiful weekend for softball, the USA Softball 18A Softball State Championships were hosted at Wallace Marine Park in West Salem. The championship match featured Strictly Softball and Bat Company 16U, a tale of two different stories and journeys. Strictly Softball cruised their way to the championship, outscoring opponents 27-4 along the way there, while Bat Company lost their opening match and won seven straight games to advance to the championship on Sunday afternoon. While the journey was long and brutal, there was no fairytale ending for Bat Company and a dominant finish for Strictly Softball.
The scoring got going in the second inning, as Hattie Brenner brought home a run on an RBI single to make it 1-0 Strictly Softball. Karaline Pfeifer drew a bases loaded walk in the next at-bat to bring home another run, extending the lead to 2-0, and Brie Lively came home on a wild pitch to make it 3-0 after two innings of play. Kya Lindell got Bat Company on the board with an RBI on a defensive error, cutting it down to 3-1, but the Strictly Softball responded with a bases loaded walk and an RBI groundout from Brenner, capped with a Pfeifer RBI single to extend it to 6-1 over Bat Company. Jules Hayes put an explanation point on the effort, drilling a two-run bomb to center field to make it 8-1 and finish off an undefeated run to the 18A State Championship for Strictly Softball.
Strictly Softball was aided huge in the circle by Camille Schmitz, who threw a complete game, five hit, one run performance with ten strikeouts. Brenner, Hayes, and Pfeifer all led the way with 2 RBI each and a hit in the victory. For Bat Company, a great story will be remembered even if it didn’t end with a title, as they went on a seven-game tear to reach this point of the tournament, a great showing from the 16U squad in an 18A tournament.