BOULDER — Pitching her fifth game in two days, the Beverly Bandits’ (Orland Park, Ill.) Miranda Elish was tasked with the challenge of shutting down Fury Fastpitch (Chattanooga, Tenn.) in the 16U championship game at the Boulder Independence Day Tournament.
If she was at all fatigued after the excessive workload this weekend, it didn’t show.
Elish allowed seven hits spread out over her five innings of work and struck out four, earning her squad a 9-1 victory and the title at one of the nation’s premier softball tournaments.
“It was so gutsy,” head coach Jenn Tyrrell said of her hurler’s performance. “She was flat out phenomenal. She took her team and put them on her back. It was her goal to win Boulder and she single-handedly pitched them through it.”
Elish, who hails from Crown Point, Indiana and is committed to the University of Oregon, seemed like she was going to be in for a long afternoon after three of the first four batters she faced reached base in the bottom of the first. But with the bags loaded and one out the starter found her composure, getting Fury’s Baylee Cook to pop out and then striking out Hannah DeVault to escape the inning unscathed.
The starter continued to pick up steam in the second inning, striking out the first two batters of the frame. She then induced another pop out to retire the side.
“I felt really good,” Elish said, “It was my fifth in a row, but I knew I had to get it for my team and I really wanted it for J.T. (Tyrrell), too.”
While Elish began to find her groove on the mound, her teammates rewarded her with plenty of support on offense. After scoring one run in the first, Beverly tacked on five more in the second inning, thanks in large part to three errors made by Fury. Center fielder Marissa Galiano began the surge after being hit by a pitch and then stealing second base. Right fielder Aspyn Novak followed that with an RBI single, and left fielder Cambry Arnold then reached on an error.
Second baseman Alexis Mack then knocked in another run with a base hit of her own. Third baseman Lizzy Seymour then reached when her fly ball to shallow left field was dropped. Seymour eventually came home on a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Jenny Behan to make the score 6-0 and give the Bandits’ starter all the insurance she would need.
Fury did threaten to make noise several times, but were never quite able to fully capitalize on their opportunities. After a one out double by center fielder Alyssa Coppinger in the third, first baseman Jordan Spicer followed suit with a single. Coppinger came home on a groundout by catcher Libby Sugg, but Spicer was left stranded on third when Elish earned her fourth strikeout to end the inning.
The Tennessee squad had another chance in the fourth after a couple of Bandit errors loaded the bases with two outs. But Coppinger sent a gounder to third, which Seymour was able to pick up and step on the bag just ahead of the Fury base runner for a force out to end the inning. They were also able to put two runners aboard as they made on final push in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Alexis Hull popped out to third to bring the game to an end.
“(Playing in the finals) is always our goal,” Fury head coach Keith Perry said. “We come here to compete against the best, to play the best, and that’s t he only way you are going to be the best.”
“We had a phenomenal trip,” Tyrell said. “They played the best softball that they’ve played this summer, the best this team’s ever played and it was an experience that I told the girls they will remember for the rest of their life.”
Boulder Independence Day Tournament
BANDITS 9, FURY 1
At Stazio Softball Fields
Bandits(5-0) 151 20 — 9 8 2
Fury (4-1) 001 00 — 1 7 5
W — Elish. L — Jones.
Bandits hitting(ab-r-h-rbi) — Arnold 4-2-1-1, Mack 4-1-2-1, Seymour 3-1-0-0, Buddle 3-1-1-0, Behan 2-1-1-2, Schlattman 3-0-0-0, Elish 2-1-1-1, Gagliano 1-1-0-0, Novak 3-1-1-1, Arnold 3-1-1-1. Totals 28-9-8-7. SB — Seymour, Gagliano.
Fury hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Fortel 3-0-1-0, Coppinger 3-1-1-0, Spicer 2-0-1-0, Sugg 2-0-1-1, Cook 3-0-0-0, DeVault 3-0-1-0, Hull 3-0-0-0, Watkins 2-0-1-0, Barnette 2-0-0-0. Totals 23-1-7-1.
Bandits pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Elish 5-7-1-1-0-4.
Fury pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Jones 3-7-7-4-0-3, Bodenhorn 2-1-2-1-1-1.