Through three tournaments, the Cherry City Crush softball squad, made up of all 13U players, had a 9-7 overall record with four of those losses by one run.
Those close games under pressure situations were beneficial to the group as they started 0-2, but finished 4-0 to secure a silver bracket championship at the Tormaschy Memorial Tournament on June 1-2 in Yakima, Wash.
In Sunday’s title game, Kaleyah Crichton-Tunai posted three hits and three RBIs, Jeilane Stewart added a pair of hits, Kylie Iverson walked twice and both Kennedy Abbas and Amyrah Hill drove in a run apiece in a 5-0 victory over the Selah Tigers.
Abbas struck out nine in her complete-game performance from the circle to get the decision.
Entering Sunday, the Crush posted a 1-2 record in pool play with losses to Octane, out of Vancouver, Wash. and the Ellensburg, Wash. Synergy.
The Crush cruised past the Polson Lakers, from Montana, by a 10-1 mercy-ruled margin to end Saturday on a positive note.
“Dropping a pair of games that we all felt we could have won, the team regrouped,” Crush coach Joe Abbas said.
Against Polson, Zoe LeBreton and Anabell Udey notched two hits and two RBIs apiece, Ashlyn Jones walked twice, and Abbas dominated from the circle with a five-strikeout, five-inning gem.
Capping a tough day with a lopsided win seemed to be just the jumpstart the Crush needed.
In bracket action Sunday, the Crush started with an 11-4 triumph against the Eastside Rough Riders and a 7-3 semifinals victory versus the Vancouver, British Columbia Clashers, from Canada.
Versus the Rough Riders, the Crush overcame an early deficit and used the offensive barrage of Sierra Faulkner and McKenna Strain, who each tallied two hits.
Udey reached on two walks, Stewart tacked on a hit and two walks, Hill walked and drove in a run, and Jones posted an RBI.
Abbas struck out six Eastside batters across four innings to score the win, and Kaleyah Crichton-Tunai fanned three in her relief appearance.
Abbas, Udey and Kaleyah Crichton-Tunai totaled two hits apiece, Stewart had two walks, and both Keiliani and Kaleyah Crichton-Tunai drove in two runs, and Kaleyah broke things open in the second inning with a line drive RBI triple in the Crush’s 7-3 win against Vancouver.
Spanning five frames, Abbas struck out seven batters for her win.
Despite a solid pitching effort by Faulkner, the Crush lost their pool play opener, 11-10, to Octane, out of Vancouver, Wash. and then suffered a 9-3 second-game setback versus the Ellensburg Synergy.
In their 11-10 loss, Abbas and Jones posted two hits each, and both Abbas and Faulkner combined for seven strikeouts in five inning of pitching.
LeBreton took the circle in Game 2 and pitched well with three strikeouts in five innings, but the Crush was unable to put any consistency in their offense, as hits were scattered and they left runners in scoring position.
LeBreton had two hits, Abbas added an RBI, Iverson walked twice, and both Stewart and Hill reached on walks.
Up next, the Crush travels to Newberg for a two-day tournament on June 15-16.
“The Crush players have worked hard, and I know that they look toward the month of June to put all phases of the game together to compete with the state’s best,” Abbas said.