With the exception of two games, all games played at home over the past weeks involved Carroll County League Little Miss play, which Polo hosted for the fourth year in a row. On Sunday, June 29, Pearl City One hosted Eastland One and came away with a lopsided 13-0 win in just four innings.
Pearl City’s pitcher, Cheyenne Handsacker, simply overwhelmed Eastland’s batters the entire evening as she struck out ten of the twelve batters she faced.
In game two Sunday, Milledgeville played host to River Ridge and while the margin of victory was not as great as Pearl City enjoyed in game one, Milledgeville dominated play and took the contest by a 7-0 margin.
Milledgeville’s pitcher Paige Miller struck out 13 batters in fashioning the win. Milledgeville picked up three runs in the first and were never headed to advance to the next round of play.
Action resumed on July 1, as Polo Two hosted Forreston Two. Kara Erdman pitched for Forreston and she had little trouble with Polo’s batters as she struck out 12 of the 15 batters she faced in leading Forreston to a 13-0 victory.
Maddi Jones had Polo’s only hit as she smacked a one-out double to center field in the third inning.
Emily Williams followed Jones by drawing a walk putting runners on first and second with one down. With two down and the runners still in place, Anna Faivre drew a walk to fill the bases.
Things looked as though Polo might get on board but that hope was short-lived as the next batter went down swinging to end the inning.
That brief attempt at a rally was the last hurrah for Polo as they went down in order in the fourth as the game ended under the time limit rule.
With the win, Forreston advanced to the semi-final round against the winner of the next game which was between Savanna and Polo One.
The Savanna/Polo game was one of the finest games of the year in Polo. The two teams would battle for over two hours and six and two-thirds innings before Savanna would ease by a determined Polo squad by a 1-0 margin.
Polo’s Nicole Boelens and Savanna’s Jozie McCombie would duel pitch for pitch the entire game before Savanna managed to put a run across under the international tie-breaking rule.
Polo never got a hit in the match up and could only get a runner to second twice.
Savanna loaded the bases in the second inning and had two runners on twice but every time they appeared ready to score, Boelens would bear down and finish by striking out the side.
The game all came down to the seventh inning. when under the international tie-breaking rule the last batter from the previous inning is placed on second with none out and then the runner’s team attempts to score her and as many other runs as possible.
Polo could not score their runner as McCombie struck out the side. In their turn at bat, Savanna had the same opportunity with a runner on second and none out.
Boelens struck out the first batter she faced without a problem. Haley McGinnis then came up and smashed the first pitch from Boelens to short right field. The ball went over the fielder’s head as Jozie McCombie raced from second around the bag at third.
Polo’s fielder got the ball and threw to Boelens but Boelens could not get the runner at home in time as Savanna took a thrilling and for Polo a disappointing 1-0 win to advance to the semi-final game against Forreston.
For the evening, Boelens struck out sixteen Savanna batters while McCombie of Savanna K’d 18 batters. Polo had no hits while Savanna had just the hit by McGinnis that won the game for them.
With the loss, Polo’s teams were eliminated from further tournament play.
July 3 found tourney action picking up again as play resumed after a one-day break in which a regular season game for Polo’s Junior Division Team Two was played. More on that game later.
In the first round of semi-final action, the tourney favorite Pearl City One hosted Milledgeville.
This game turned out to be a thrilling and well-played game that would go nine innings and see Milledgeville upset Pearl City by a score of 6-3 under the international tie-break rule.
There was no scoring for four and one half innings and then Pearl City broke out on top with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-0 lead into the final half inning of play. Pearl City’s Cheyenna Handsacker and Milledgeville’s Paige Miller locked up in a pitcher’s duel that moved so quickly that almost the entire game was played in slightly over an hour
Each pitcher dominated the other pitcher’s lineup until the bottom of the fifth when Pearl City erupted with three big runs and appeared ready to advance to the finals Saturday. Milledgeville had no intention of going quietly as they rallied with three runs in the top of the sixth and final inning of regulation play to tie the game at three heading into the bottom of the inning.
Pearl City was the home team and had the final turn at bat but they could not quite get over the hump. Pearl City managed to fill the bases with two out but Paige Miller bore down and struck out the final batter.
That kept Pearl City from scoring sending the game into extra innings under the international tie-breaking rule.
Neither team could score in the seventh and eighth innings, as both pitchers appeared to get stronger and continued to strike out batters when they needed.
Then, in the top of the ninth, Milledgeville struck for three runs on three singles and a double to go up 6-3. Milledgeville was looking to score even more runs had not a double play and a strikeout ended the rally.
Down 6-3, Pearl City managed to fill the bases with two out in the bottom of the ninth.
Once again, Miller struck out the final batter to preserve the win and send Milledgeville into the championship game Saturday afternoon against the winner to the evening’s second semi-final game between Forreston Two and Savanna.
For the game, Milledgville collected a total of eight hits while Pearl City had just three hits.
Paige Miller struck out 24 batters while Cheyenne Handsacker struck out 18 batters. Both pitchers went the distance.
In the second semi-final game, Forreston hosted Savanna. Forreston picked up a solo run in the second inning and added three in the third and three more in the fifth to win 7-0.
Kara Erdman outdueled Savanna’s Jozie McCombie to send her team into the championship game against Milledgeville. Erdman struckout 12 of the 14 batters she faced.
McCombie did not have the control she had in the game against Polo and repeatedly struggled with her control. McCombie struck out 11 batters. For the evening, Forreston had just two hits but collected 13 base on balls. Savanna did not have a hit or a walk.
Saturday, July 5, Forreston Two hosted Milledgeville for the championship.
In that game, Milledgeville would score first with a run in the very first inning on a Paige Miller leadoff triple and a single by Macie Stirrup to grab a 1-0 lead.
That solo run would prove to be Milledgeville’s last hurrah as Forreston Two’s pitcher Kara Erdman would throttle the high-powered offense of the visitors the rest of the way out.
She would strike out 14 of the next 16 batters she faced to lead Forreston Two to a 7-1 victory to cop first place honors.
Milledgeville’s starting pitcher Paige Miller would hold Forreston in check in the bottom of the first but in the second the home team broke out on top with three runs.
A leadoff single followed by a walk and then a one-out hit batsman would lead to the bases being loaded with two down.
A walk and another hit batsman along with yet another walk would produce three runs for Forreston and give them a 3-1 lead they would never surrender.
Neither team would score until the bottom of the fifth when the home team exploded for four runs to take a commanding 7-1 into the top of the sixth.
Four base on balls and a Kara Erdman triple produced the desired results for Forreston as they went on to take the Little Miss Tournament honors this year.
Forreston had just two hits for the game to three for Milledgeville.
In the single game played outside the league tourney, Polo Two hosted Stillman Three here July 2. The game was played under soggy skies and cold temperatures that made a long evening even longer before Polo emerged with an 11-9 win.
The game turned out to be a walk-a-thon as neither team could find a pitcher who could get the ball over the plate. Polo had not had a game in a week and the rust showed.
Starting pitcher, Becca Wagner walked batter after batter in her stint as pitcher. A combination of lack of control and an often wet ball make pitching difficult.
When Alex Dusing relieved Wagner things did not improve as she also struggled with control.
Stillman’s pitching was good for one inning as they held Polo scoreless for the first inning but from there things went downhill.
Stillman’s group of pitchers would walk a total of ten Polo batters in just the three innings that were played. Polo’s two pitchers walked 16 batters.
Polo had three hits for the game with those coming in a five-run third. Alex Dusing led off with a double and scored on Sierra Wolfley’s single.
Following a walk to Becca Wagner that filled the bases, Mallory Pattersom smashed a double to left to score two runs. An error on a ball hit by Kayley Lowry led to a run.
Abby Gorzny scored another run on a single to cap off the scoring and give Polo an 11-9 win as time expired. Alex Dusing picked up the win in relief and sent Polo to a perfect 12-0 record for the season.
While the Carroll County Little Miss Tournament was going on in Polo, Thomson hosted the Tiny Miss Tournament. Polo’s entrant had an easy time of it against Thomson as they down their hosts by a 17-1 June 28.
Polo had 27 hits total with Allissa Marschang leading the way with four singles. Olivia Paul, Emmalee Gilbert, Madison Glawe, and Maddy McClane all had three hits. The win propelled the Tiny Miss squad into the championship game.
In a game reported in from the road July 1, Polo One of the Junior Division travelled to Byron where they posted a 13-0 win.
Polo scored three runs in the first inning to grab an early lead.
Katelyn Trobaugh, Natalie Boward, and Marah Blake drew walks to quickly fill the bases. Maggie Rhodes hit a fielder’s choice to drive in a run.
Harper Clark then crashed a double to left to score two more runs as Polo was off to a quick 3-0 lead.
Polo continued to pick up runs in the second inning as they posted a quick six. Peyton Knight, Trobaugh, Boward, and Clark all had singles.
Blake and Rhodes drew walks. Cynthia Calderon hammered a double to bring in three runs. Boward, Clark and Rhodes each managed a single to pick up RBI’s. After two innings, Polo had a comfortable 9-0 lead.
Polo would add another three runs in the third as the game turned into a mismatch. Chelsey Weems, Emma McCawly walked to start the third.
Izzy Sellers and Trobaugh were hit by pitches to force in a run. Allyson Simpson and Knight singled to score runs. Polo would then complete their scoring in the fourth with a solo run.
Marah Blake singled to start off the inning. Clark doubled to score Blake to account for the final score.
Natalie Boward picked the victory. She struck out five batters. Harper Clark mopped up in relief. She struck out on in preserving the shutout.