LEWISBURG – The players on the Central PA Havoc 14U girls fast pitch softball team have spent their entire summer playing against some of the best programs the East Coast has to offer.
The team, comprised mostly of players from Lewisburg, Mifflinburg and Milton, wrapped up play this summer by competing in the USA Softball Fast Pitch Girls’ B 14-Under Eastern Championship held this past weekend in Toms River, N.J.
Although coach Kevin Wagner expected his team to come away with the title, the Havoc, which features Lewisburg’s Carley Wagner (P/2B), Ryan Brouse (2B/CF) and Gracie Murphy (1B/CF); Mifflinburg’s Evelyn Osborne (C/SS); and Milton’s Ana Doyle (1B/OF), Kendall Fedder (3B/LF) and Brooklyn Wade (1B/OF), advanced all the way to the semifinals before falling to the South Jersey Pride, 4-3.
“We’re pleased with the finish and everything, but we feel we could’ve done better,” said Wagner, whose squad finished third out of 22 teams hailing from up and down the East Coast.
“The last two years this team has either come in first or second in everything, so third place (was okay). There was a lot of talent there and there were a lot of very good teams, so we were pleased - especially with how we started the tournament.”
The Havoc had a rocky start to the weekend by opening pool play with a 4-1 loss to the Jersey Bombers, the eventual tournament champions. The Pride were the runners-up.
However, the Havoc bounced back to trounce the Maryland Fever, 17-4, to complete pool play.
In the game, Brouse led the way with a 3-for-4 day that included a double, three runs scored and two RBI. Wade, Doyle and Fedder added two hits apiece, with Wade driving in three runs and Brouse plating two.
“We kind of started a little rough, and we weren’t playing our best,” said Wagner, whose team qualified for the Eastern Championship after it finished second at the state tournament held last month in State College.
The start of bracket play also didn’t go smoothly for the Havoc, as Central Ohio Ice took an 8-4 victory over the Central PA team.
With the team now in the loser’s bracket, the Havoc regained their form and began reeling off win after win.
First came a 14-1 victory over the Maryland Fever. Shamokin’s Annie Hornberger pitched a complete game and batted 4-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored to lead way. In addition, Osborne batted 4-for-4 and had four RBI, plus Wade, Murphy, Fedder and Doyle all collected two hits each.
Another 14-1 win followed over the Clark RI Rampage. Osborne batted 2-for-4 and drove in three runs, while Brouse and Doyle had two hits apiece along with an RBI.
While the team seemed to be gathering steam after those two blowout wins, the Havoc really started to roll following a comeback 6-5 win over FPN White in Game 4.
Murphy hit a walk-off, two-run double to lead the Havoc to the victory.
“We were losing 3-1 and we came back in the last inning, and that’s really what catapulted us up to win the next two games,” said Wagner. “We seemed to get our flow going after that, and the girls really started to hit well and do well.
“In the next two games after that we 10-runned both teams. (The win over FPN White) just kind of seemed to be a bump for us, and the extra push that we needed,” added Wagner.
That wasn’t truly the case as the next game saw the Havoc edge the NJ Ruthless White, 3-1, behind a game-breaking RBI single by Wade in the second inning.
But in the ensuing two contests the Havoc crushed Lady 83 05, 14-3; before the Havoc cruised to a 13-0 white-washing of the Rke Jaxx.
Osborne batted 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored, plus Murphy went 2-for-3 with a double and four RBI against Lady 83.
Versus Rke Jaxx, Wade batted 4-for-4 with five RBI and three runs scored, Osborne went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI, and Brouse was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
“We came all the back through the loser’s bracket and only lost by one run in the semifinals,” said Wagner. “So the girls did really good, they really responded well (after the early loss) and they played well as a team. I’m really proud of what they accomplished.”
The aforementioned girls have been playing competitively together the past several years, and it looks like the good times will continue for years to come.
All seven girls from the area will be moving up to the Havoc 16U team, and coach Wagner expects more good things from them in the future.
“We really did feel like we had a good chance at winning the whole thing because we have a very strong team. We played over 70 games now (56-12-1 record) and we have a very talented team,” said Wagner. “Most of the girls have been playing together now for 3-4 years, so they are very used to one another and they are very much like a sisterhood. They are very good friends and it’s a great group of girls.”
“We should almost have a full team returning to 16U next year. Some of the girls are going to age out, and we wanted to keep this team together,” said Wagner.
“The outlook is very good. We have such a high group of girls, and we played all high-caliber tournaments this year – states and nationals and college showcases. So it’s a very talented group, and we’re very fortunate.”