After a disappointing 5-4 loss in the previous weeks' championship game at the Georgia ASA State Championships in extra innings, the Next Level 14U team won the "Gobbler Extravaganza" in Valdosta, Georgia last weekend.
The team started off very strong beating the Blue Angels 8-0 in the opening game. Continuing with strong pitching and defense, Next Level beat the Black Water Bandits 4-0. Unfortunately, the bats hit a dry spell and lost to the X-Plosion 5-3 in the third game of the day. Next Level fought its way back through the losers bracket beating the Columbia Crushers 8-2, and avenging its earlier loss by beating the X-Plosion 12-0 in five innings. This set up the Championship game against the Georgia Bombers.
Next Level started off very strong with a three run home run by Karli Woolington in the bottom of the first. The team never looked back, beating the Georgia Bombers 9-1 to force the "if game" tie breaker. In the top half of the inning, Georgia Bombers had a runner on 3rd with no outs, but the defense was able to get the next three batters out to end the inning. In the bottom half of the inning, the offense wasted little time by scoring the winning run to win its first tournament of the new season.
Amber Winkler, Gabby Ekberg, and Karli Woolington led the team offensively, with Karli Woolington amazingly hitting four home runs on the day! Both Gabby Ekberg and Karli Woolington combined to not give up an earned run all day pitching.
Next Level will be playing this weekend in Clearwater, Florida in the ASA 14U A Regional Qualifier trying to win a bid to next year's USA/ASA 14U A Nationals in South Dakota in August, 2012.
Pictured: Front left to right: Hannah Wilde, Amber Winkler, Brooklyn McGlamory, Gabby Ekberg; Back left to right: Coach Staci Smith, Brielle Dozier, Karli Woolington, Adrianne Van Atta, Hannah Hilaman, Madison Williams, Caley Chappel, Head Coach Bob Van Atta; Not pictured: Coach Eddie Ekberg, Chelsey Murray