Shooting Stars capture 16-under crown, 1-0
The Ashburn, Va., team defeated B.P. All-Stars from New York.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
VIENNA -- Centerfielder Diondra "D.D." Fryer had a smile brighter than the brilliant July sky above her. And, a reason for the all the glee.
"Oh my God, it feels so good," Fryer said after her hit decided the final game of the 16-under PONY national championship softball tournament Saturday.
"It hasn't happened since 10-under and it feels so good to have the trophy now," Fryer said of the championship.
With two pitchers locked in a taunt, scoreless duel, Fryer singled to center with two out in the last of the fifth inning to give the Ashburn, Va., Shooting Stars a 1-0 win over the B.P. All-Stars of Long Island, N.Y.
B.P. pitcher Meghan Borst walked just batter -- Haley Johnson -- with one away in the fifth. Johnson advanced on a groundout, then scored on Fryer's single.
"I was excited, I didn't know what happened at first," Fryer said of the play at the plate. "I didn't know if Haley [Johnson] was safe or was out. She was called safe and it was exciting. Especially, I wasn't hitting very good today. Today I got it done; the team got it done."
Especially effective was Ashburn pitcher Caitlyn Delahaba who threw a two-hitter with nine strikeouts.
Although Delahaba's father is the team's manager, Caitlyn called her mother at home immediately following the game. Certainly the pair discussed B.P.'s two scoring chances.
Long Island used a single, a hit batter and a fielding error to load the bases in the third but failed to score.
"You have to relax," Delahaba said of her calm demeanor in getting a fly ball to end the threat.
B.P. had two runners in scoring position in the sixth with just one away but again were denied.
"You have to rely on your team," Delahaba said after getting a groundball and a flyout.
"Unbelievable. We're only a 14-under team and we played up a division," Ashburn manager Danny Delahaba said.
"So, this is an accomplishment. They never give up; they've been together for a long time, five-six years together."
In recent years, this same group of players won a national 10-under title, captured a national 12-under championship and placed in the final four of a 14-under tournament.
"That's the best team we played all year, by far," said coach Delahaba of B.P. after his team racked up its 65th win in about 70 starts.
Both teams were 9-0 entering the championship game.
"That's what a championship game's supposed to be," tournament director Dave Anderson said when the game was scoreless after four innings.
"I think it's been fantastic, it's the first year for this," Anderson said.
"The big rain we had on Wednesday didn't hurt us. We got back on track. All indications are that they're coming back. Other than being exhausted, I think that all our people here are flying on air."
Throughout the week the 118 teams played nearly 500 games in Hubbard, Warren, Vienna and Lordstown.
Mike Chaffee, mayor of Lordstown, worked at one concession stand in his city during the tournament and predicted the B.P. All-Stars may have enough talent to win it all.
"After seeing the New York B.P. team play its first game, I felt they would definitely be the team to beat here," Chaffee said.
"They just crushed the ball."