RAPID RIVER - Elmer's County Market capped off an outstanding season by capturing the Women's Slowpitch Softball League tournament title on Aug. 3.
Elmer's entered the tournament with a 20-2 record, having won the league pennent for the 11th consecutive year. The ladies then won five straight games in the tournament to capture the title.
The tournament began Friday, Aug. 1 as Elmer's defeated U.P. Power Wash 12-0. Elmer's got out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Steph Gravelle collected three hits to lead Elmer's and Savannah Stenlund and Amber Quigley also added hits. Emilee Holle had two hits for Power Wash, including a double.
Elmer’s County Market captured both the Women’s Slowpitch League Championship and the Tournament Championship in 2014, finishing the season with a 25-2 record. Team members include (back row from left): Barb Landis, Amber Quigley, Jen Kirk, Holly Hereau, Anne Okonek, Lorrie Botruff, Amy Gibbs, Judy Keim, Brenda Madden, Samantha Shepeck, Samantha Paradise and Candy Swetkis. Front row from left: Malia Quigley, Mackenzie Shepeck, Emily Zellar, Steph Gravelle, Savannah Stenlund, Ashleigh Monticello and Krissy Paquin.
On Saturday, Aug. 2, Elmer's continued the tournament with a doubleheader.
In the opener, Elmer's rolled past Delta Pub 11-0, again getting out to an early 2-0 lead in the first. Mackenzie Shepeck went 3-for-3, Jen Kirk was 2-for-3 and Holly Hereau was 2-for-2 for Elmer's. Anna Sargent and Breanna Aird had hits for Delta Pub.
The last four unbeaten teams met late Saturday afternoon to determine who would advance to the league semifinal games.
Cat-Man-Do's thumped U.P. State Bank 5-0 to advance in the first game, and Elmer's met Mugshots in the second winner's bracket game.
Once again, Elmer's jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs in the first inning en route to an 8-3 victory.
Hereau led Elmer's with two hits, including a triple and Candy Swetkis, Amber Quigley and Emily Zellar each added two hits. Mughots put up 10 hits and was led by Danielle Beaudoin and Mallory McPhee who each collected two hits.
Cat-Man-Do's met Elmer's at noon on Sunday, coming into the game as one of only two teams that beat Elmer's during the regular season in a 2-1 victory in May.
However, Elmer's racke dup 15 hits en route to an 11-1 six inning victory to advance to the title game. Elmer's ended the game prematurely, scoring six runs in the sixth inning. Ashleigh Monticello had the game-ending hit, an RBI single. Brenda Madden and Shepeck were each 3-for-3 with a double. Katie Argall had two hits for Cat-Man-Do's.
U.P. State Bank met Elmer's in the championship game Sunday afteroon, clawing their way back through the loser's bracket. Elmer's had to rally and fend off another rally by State Bank, to come away with a 5-4 title clinching victory.
State Bank led early, scoring two runs in the second inning on base hits by Hailey Smith and Sandy Thomma. Elmer's responded with a run in the third when Monticelo scored on an RBI single from Samantha Paradise. State Bank then responded with with a run in the bottom of the third to lead 3-1.
Elmer's made their move in the sixth, scoring four runs on six hits to take a 5-3 lead they wouldn't relinquish. Monticello, Hereau, Paradise and Madden all scored to put Elmer's ahead.
State Bank didn't go away and pulled within one run in the bottom of the sixth when Sandy Gibbs scored. State Bank then threatened again in the seventh inning. With one out, Lesley Delvaus singled and Tabitha Marchese reached base on an error. Hailey Smith then lined a hard shot to Monticello at shortstop for the second out, but Delveaus and Marchese advanced to second and third on a throwing error when Monticello tried to double the runner off of second base.
With two outs and the tying and go ahead runner at second third, Sandy Gibbs hit a hard grounder to Monticello at shortstop, but Monticello, teamed with Anne Okonek at first base to get the game-ending out, for a thrilling finish to the tournament.
Hereau, Paradise, Emily Zellar and Monticello each had two hits for Elmer's while State Bank was led by Thomma, Delvaus and Smith who each had two hits.
The victory capped a very good season for Elmer's. Over the 22-game regular season, Elmer's stingy defense allowed only 29 runs while their offense put up 160 runs. The Elmer's defense continued to be strong over the weekend as the team gave up only eight runs in five games while scoring 47 en route to the title.
Only six games separated the top six teams in a very competitive Women's Slowpitch League this season. The final standings for the 2014 season were:
1st - Elmer's County Market, 20-2
2nd - Mugshots, 17-5
3rd - U.P. State Bank, 16-6
T-4th - Cat-Man-Do's, 15-7
T-4th - Ernie's Irish Pub, 15-7
6th - IMS, 14-8