The summer of hard work paid off for the McPherson Lady Express 14U fast-pitch softball team as they earned a birth to the Regional USSSA C World Series in Kansas City, Missouri held July 10-13.
Fifty-eight teams qualified for the 14U Class C tournament.
The Express opened pool play on Thursday by losing their first two games that were used to determine the double elimination bracket play the following two days.
During pool play MVP honors were given to Olivia Rettig and Mayci James for their outstanding play and leadership.
In bracket play on Friday, Lady Express made a quick turn around against the Kansas City Cheetahs handing the cats a 9-7 loss in the first round. The winning continued with a victory over the Northwest Arkansas Attack by a score of 9-5.
The Lady Express then lost a hard fought battle to the Northwest Arkansas Diamonds by a score of 8-6, forcing them into the loser's bracket.
As bracket play resumed on Saturday, a determined Lady Express team eliminated Missouri Explosion 8-2. They then downed Nebraska's Advocare Elite 2-1 with a game winning home run by Brooke Schrag in the last inning.
The Express then beat Northwest Arkansas Nitro 11-3, and in a grudge match defeated the Northwest Arkansas Diamonds 4-2. In game five, they handed the Oskaloosa Iowa Rebels a 6-2 loss.
This win put the Lady Express in the championship game against the Frontenac Raiders, a team that they had to beat twice to take it all.
Game one was a defensive battle, with both teams failing to score in the first six innings. McPherson broke the tie in the seventh when Rettig hit a line drive single to center field.
Stevie Stockham followed by ripping a line drive triple to right field, scoring Rettig. Stockham scored by a hard hit ball by Elle Schrag to the shortstop.
With the score 2-0, Teagan Pacey reached first base on a fielders choice leaving one on with two outs. Lady Express finished the inning plating two more runs on three hits.
The Raiders managed to only score one in the bottom of the seventh against the dynamic air-tight Express defense that ended the Raider hopes with a spectacular catch by Lady Express second baseman Gracy Feil in shallow right field.
This victory gave new found energy to a battle worn Lady Express team, whose bats came alive in game two pounding Frontenac Raiders 8-2 grabbing the World Series Title from the shell shocked Raiders.
"These girls battled intensely all seven games on Saturday, they dug deep and played with their hearts and never game up to the finish," McPherson coach Karyne Schrag said. "All 13 players contributed and were determined as a team to go all the way. I am honored to coach this group of young ladies."
Page 2 of 2 - For their hard work through the tournament, particularly Saturday, Pacey was awarded the tournament's MVP and Elle Schrag was named the Most Outstanding Pitcher.
This duo pitched and caught all seven games, 6 in a row, Saturday helping the McPherson Lady Express bring home the 2013 World Series National Title.