MONTICELLO | Due to Friday’s rain in the Monticello area, the normal bracket of four pools feeding into a semifinals/final finish at the Twin Lakes Invitational was changed into two eight-team tourneys.
Each team played three games, win or lose, and two champions were crowned. It was received well by most participants.
“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this format,” Hanover Central coach Larry McMillen said. “We get to play three games and the kids gets experience.”
The two teams who faced in the "Red Tourney” final, Lowell and Eastern, prefer the adjustment.
“I’ve known (Eastern) coach (Jerry) Haines for a while and we were saying we almost like this format better,” Lowell coach Pete Iussig said.
Twin Lakes athletic director Kent Adams actually had the new brackets created days before the tourney after seeing the projected weather forecast. The previous time when rain canceled Friday night games at Twin Lakes, the championship didn’t start until 8:45 p.m., local time, and he didn’t want that scenario again.
And the bonus for the teams is that Adams will send the winning teams separate trophies and medals.
Triple the double plays: It’s rare to see a double play in softball with the shorter distance between bases, but Lowell’s defense managed to turn three double plays in the first four innings of its 12-2 win over Eastern.
The first came in the first inning on a grounder to third baseman Haley Raub, who stepped on the bag and threw to first. In the second, shortstop Sara Lewandowski fielded a grounder, tagged a runner and threw to first. Two innings later Raub caught a line drive and doubled off the runner on first.
“We didn’t have one (double play) all year and these kids get three in one game,” Lowell assistant and former Hebron head coach Mike McLindon said.
Youth is served: Hanover already starts four freshmen, so with the school having its prom Saturday and missing a handful of upperclassmen, it wasn’t as big of a deal. The young Wildcats defeated Pioneer 5-2 in the morning, before losing their last two games, 3-0 to Western and 13-2 to Harrison.
“We played well, we could have played better,” McMillen said. “Marley (Hanlon) pitched well and Kori (Davis) pitched well. We were hitting too many fly balls again – we have to get out of that habit. But here were more good things than bad things.”
One of the other good things was freshman Dakota Ward, who had three RBIs on a bases-loaded double in the against Pioneer despite being a little sick before the game.
Mustangs bounce back: After losing its first game to Eastern 5-4, Munster rebounded with a 4-3 victory over Carroll and then won the “losers bracket” of the Red Tourney 13-2 over host Twin Lakes. Ironically, Lowell beat Eastern in the final after losing twice to Munster during the regular season.
Familiar faces: Despite the condensed format, players had time to commiserate in between games, and some were hanging out with girls from opposing teams.
Two girls with the same first name had a sort of reunion.
Hanover freshman catcher Alexis Mokos and Crown Point freshman pitcher Alexis Holloway are members of the same travel team in the offseason, the Beverly (Ill.) Bandits, and they worked out in the Hanover fieldhouse during the summer, according to McMillen.