Wednesday, July 19, 2000; Page A-47
The MVSA Strom U-16 fastpitch softball team finished second at the "Heatwave" Tournament in Fairfax, Va., this past weekend, earning their second berth to PONY Nationals in Sterling, Va. To get to the championship game, Storm had to get past the 1999 National Champion, Blue Ice, in the semi-final game. The game was tied 0-0 after the regulation seven innings and went to international tie breaker rules which starts each inning with a runner on second base. The Storm held Blue Ice scoreless through 10 innings of play, and started the bottom of the 10th with Shannon Denham (Magruder)on second. Kristen Hand (Watkins Mill) put down what was planned as a sacrifice bunt, but she reached first due to a coverage mistake by the Blue Ice while Denham moved to third. Hand was sent to second in an attempt to draw a throw, which she did. Denham broke for home and arrived at the same time as the throw from second, but slid under the tag to score the winning run.
"It was the game of a lifetime for our players" stated coach Ed Hendrickson. "Tiffany Horrigan (Holy Cross) and Brooke Hughes (Magruder) both pitched flawless ball and every player played to perfection behind them. Lisa Conner (Magruder) and Laura Hendrickson (Magruder) called incredible pitches behind the plate and threw out runners who attempted to steal bases on them. Every play was backed up and every player contributed. I told the team before the game that to win this they had to play a perfect game. It was wasn't perfect, but we covered every imperfection to get the win"
Storm went 5-2 in the tournament after losing the championship game to the Richmond Hurricanes by a score of 2-1, which was the fourth straight game for the Storm on Sunday. "Our girls gave everything they had to get to the championship game, but Richmond played strong defense and we left eight runners stranded on base," said Hendrickson. "Every player gave 110 percent effort to finish the last game and everyone walked off the field knowing our team had an awesome weekend. It was a great way to wrap up our regular season and a very good tune-up for Nationals".
The Storm qualified for the 2000 PONY National Tournament of Champions by finishing third at the Mt. Vernon Classic Tournament on June 4. The U-16 Storm will travel to Sterling, Va., for the week-long event which starts July 24 and runs through July 30 and will include over 385 of the nations best teams in five different age groups. The U-16 Storm players involved in the Heatwave Tournament were Kristen Hand, Jeannine Panzera, Heather Orem, Jessica White, Lisa Conner, Shannon Clemmer, Laura Hendrickson, Brooke Hughes, Sara Kosak, Shannon Denham, Tiffany Horrigan, Deniz Gumustas, and Nicki Fisher.