By Sean Reilly
Annie Martin and her East Coast Tsunami White teammates had played too much excellent softball over the last two days to go home with a runner-up finish at the 12U Jennie Finch Spring Invitational at Diamond Nation.
The shortstop and leadoff batter went 2-for-3 with two runs scored as her North Jersey-based team completed an unbeaten weekend with a 6-1 victory over the TC Futures 09 on Sunday night in Flemington.
The Tsunami White won all three of its pool-play games on Saturday, and also captured its first four elimination games on Sunday, by a combined score of 73-8.
Standing in its path, however, was a TC Futures 09 team from Westchester County (NY), which had also gone 7-0, having outscored its opponents, 70-19.
Martin, the winning pitcher in one game Saturday and another on Sunday, started at shortstop and hit leadoff in the final. It was that role atop the order she figured would be of major importance.
After the Tsunami turned a double play in the top of the first inning, Martin started the bottom of the inning with a hard single to left field. She came around to score on a two-out single to deep shortstop by Brielle Schumeyer, and the Tsunami was on its way to victory.
Martin, who aside from her two pitching wins, slugged three home runs and added a triple in the final, was named Most Valuable Player.
“This was a lot of fun,” she said. “It feels good. My team backed me when I pitched and I was also glad that I was able to help us get ahead of the other team.”
Emily Ignacio was the winning pitcher in the final, allowing four hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk. She was 3-0 over the weekend, having also pitched her team’s third game on Saturday and third game (quarterfinal round) on Sunday. As the No. 3 batter in the championship lineup, she was 2-for-3 with a RBI groundout.
“They hit so well,” said Tsunami coach Amy Mullen of her team’s performance. “They hit, they fielded, they played phenomenal this whole weekend. They did everything. We were playing a good team, and that’s what we did all weekend. We were scoring runs first and coming out swinging.”
It also won four of its eight games by shutout, and allowed one run in two of the others.
The Tsunami broke the game open with a four-run third inning that extended its lead to 5-0.
Charlotte Dobson led off and was hit by a pitch, and Ignacio moved her to second with a single to shortstop. Gianna Suquilema reached on an error to load the bases, and Carlee Mirko followed with a two-run single to right field. After an out, Casey Mullen hit a two-run base hit to center field.
The TC Futures scored in the top of fourth, after Taylor Castle doubled and took third on an error, and then scored when Carys Cooper hit a sacrifice fly to center.
The Tsunami got the run back in the bottom of the inning, with the leadoff batter reaching for the fourth straight inning. This time it was via a triple by Martin, who scored on Ignacio’s one-out grounder to third base.
The Tsunami had one more exceptional play before receiving the championship hardware. The TC Futures had runners on second and third with one out in the top of the sixth, when a ball hit toward the right field foul line was snared by second baseman Schumeyer. The lead runner tried to score, but her throw home was caught by catcher Suquilema, who applied the tag for a game-ending double play.