Bloomington Tops NYC Havoc to Reach WMS Final Four
The Bloomington Lady Hearts (IL) advanced in Loser's Bracket play at the Women's Major Softball National Championship on Saturday, with a 10-4 victory over the New York City Havoc at DeLuca Field in Stratford, CT. The loss eliminated the Havoc, who ended the tournament tied for fifth place.
Bloomington went up early on New York City with two runs in the bottom of the first. Haley Ginger singled to right with one out and advanced to second on a bunt single by Tasha Alexander. Both runners tagged and moved up a bag on a fly out to right, then scored on a two-out single by Riley Phipps. The 2-0 lead would stand until the top of the third.
The Havoc pieced together a run in the third, as Chyanne Gilliam led off and drew a walk off Lady Heart starter Ali Domkuski. Gina Gerone sacrificed Gilliam to second, and a single by Nikki Cuccio sent Gilliam to third. Brenna Martini followed and reached on a fielder's choice, as a fielding error on the play also allowed Gilliam to score. The tally narrowed the gap to 2-1.
New York City stormed to the lead in the top of the fourth frame, after Amanda DiLeo walked with one out. Gilliam reached on an error to put two on, and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. Gina Gerone came through with a single to score two runs, giving the Havoc their first lead at 3-2.
The Lady Hearts wouldn't trail for long, as they rallied for a big inning in the home fourth.
Alexander led off with a single up the middle and stole second base. Sarah Finck delivered the equalizer with a single up the middle, tying it up at 3-3. Phipps sacrificed Finck to second, and a base hit by Morgan Edwards brought home Finck for a 4-3 score.
Edwards then motored to second on a passed ball, and after a fly out to right, Hunter Niebrugge worked a walk. Pinch-hitter Allison Rose reached on an infield single, loading the bases with two outs. Natalie Cokel lofted a fly ball to left, which was dropped, allowing two runs to come home for a 6-3 margin.
Havoc starter Isabella Gerone was lifted after the fourth inning and was relieved by Nicolette Tripani.
The Lady Hearts did not miss a beat against the new pitcher, and added to the lead in the home fifth with another four-run inning.
With one out, Ginger singled to left. Alexander reached on an error to put runners at first and second. With Finck at the plate, another Havoc defensive miscue sent Ginger home for a 7-3 lead, while Alexander raced to third. Finck took second on the play, giving Bloomington two runners in scoring position. Phipps followed and put the game out of reach, blasting a three-run homer down the line in left, pushing the score to 10-3.
Gina Gerone tried to energize the Havoc in the sixth with a big solo shot to left, which made it a 10-4 game. However, Lady Heart reliever Ally Weigand would not allow another run the rest of the way. Weigand came on for Domkuski in the fourth and earned the win in relief.
The Havoc, who won the inaugural 2009 WMS National Championship, fought hard in the tournament despite missing ace pitcher Alyson Chiaramonte due to a knee injury.
With the win, the Lady Hearts moved into the 2017 WMS Loser's Bracket Semifinal to face the Lyons Spirit (PA).