FOCUS Fast Pitch, a local 12 and under competitive softball team, competed in a large Kansas City tournament over Memorial Day weekend. The tournament boasted 135 teams ranging from 10 and under, B to 18 and Under Gold. Thirteen states and Canada were represented.
FOCUS chose the high road and competed in the A division. They have now faced teams from eight different states. Shelby Wise pitched a "perfect" game against the Columbia Missouri Rebels in a FOCUS 1-0 victory. On the weekend Wise pitched five of the seven games and allowed a total of just 14 hits and gave up only two walks while striking out 30 batters. FOCUS also picked up victories against the Nebraska Storm and the Legion of Doom out of Oklahoma. They chalked up losses against the Rockets and Wahoos of Kansas, the Fury out of Nebraska, and JT's from Iowa. On the offensive side the field Leigha Woody, Michelle Cobb, and Whitney Holman had the top batting averages.
"The girls kept every ballgame close. More importantly, they learned a great deal and will continue to improve," said Coach Susan Wise.
Coach Paul Caccavo of the Kansas City Xtreme (an 18 and under Gold team) put on a short shitting clinic for the girls.
"It was an excellent experience," said Wise. "We brought back some valuable information to improve our game. The girls had a chance to watch college players as well as elite high school players."
Recently in Marion, FOCUS finally handed the Southaven Illusions (ASA and USSSA 2003 state champs) a loss after two close battles earlier this season, 0-1, 1-2. FOCUS prevailed in Marion 2-0 over the Illusions. Although they're 11 and 12 year olds they still remain atop the 14 & Under Jonesboro league standings. In their most recent league game last Thursday, they shut out the Renegades 6-0. They have a handful of league games remaining and four more tournaments before the July 9-11 ASA state tournament in Bentonville. FOCUS will play this weekend the Mountain Dew Classic in Jonesboro.
Team members are Jonna Dodd, Katie Donner, Abby Wise, Shelby Wise and Leigha Woody, of Manila; Karla Marroquin of Monette; Michelle Cobb and Morgan Emery of Lake City; Cecilia Moye and Whitney Holman of Trumann; and Hylarie Privett and Kenna Richardson of Harrisburg. The team is sponsored by First National Bank.