Lasers win weekend tourney

By Jelani Yancey

The Manhattan Optimist Lasers 18-and-under fastpitch softball team won all five of its contests on the way to capturing first place at the Summer Slugfest in Lincoln, Neb. , this past weekend. 

The Lasers opened pool play on Saturday with a 11-0 shutout of the Lincoln Impact.  Bailey Elliott led the offense with a grand slam, while Katie Hodges hit safely twice including a double. Aubrey Jung tossed a one-hitter for the pitching win. 

Later on Saturday, the Lasers stopped the Lincoln (Neb.)  Storm 2-1. Jung had three of the Lasers’ five hits, while Elliott added a double.  Hodges was in the circle for the Lasers, stopping the Strom on just two hits, while striking out six. 

In their final pool play contest, the Lasers overcame a two-run deficit and defeated the Arlington 18’s 7-2.  Elliott and Alex Perez each had two hits and knocked in two runs. Blair Campbell also hit safely twice, while adding three RBIs.  Campbell was the pitcher of record, holding the 18’s to three hits. 

The Lasers were awarded a first seed and a first-round bye in Sunday’s single-elimination tournament. 

In their first bracket play game, the Lasers again faced the Arlington 18’s.  This time they found themselves behind 1-0 in their final at-bat, but struck for four runs to record a 4-1 victory.  Jung hit safely twice and was in the middle of the decisive rally, knocking in the tie-breaking run.  Elliott added a double. Hodges got the win in relief of Jung. 

The Lasers defeated the Lincoln Storm 2-1 in a rematch in the championship game.  The Lasers broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning when Perez doubled, was sacrificed to third by Ashley Hageman and then scored what proved to be the winning run on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Paige Divine.

Breanna Foster had two hits and scored the Lasers’ other run.  Hodges picked up her second win of the day, holding the Storm to five hits, while striking out four. 

The Lasers are now 19-5 this season.  They will next be in action this weekend at Mid-America West Park in Shawnee Mission.

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