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Optimist Indians win invite

By The Mercury

The Manhattan Optimist Lady Indians 13-and-under softball team won the U14 division of the Extreme Spring Invitational tournament this past weekend at Derby’s High Park softball complex.

The Lady Indians posted a 7-0 record in two days, highlighted by Hana Tamura’s championship-winning single to score Cara Melgares in the tournament finale.

The squad was the top seed out of pool play, winning its early Saturday games 15-1 against the Wichita Storm; 10-0 against the Colwich Royals; and 11-1 against the Valley Center Sliders.

In bracket play, the Lady Indians again defeated the Sliders 16-1 followed by dominating wins over the Wichita Motley Crue, 14-4, and the Wichita Stix, 11-3.

The Stix bounced back in the loser’s bracket and led the Lady Indians 6-2 heading into the final inning of the championship game. But the Lady Indians rallied in the home half of the fifth.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Kenzie Smith ripped a left-center gap triple to pull the team within one at 6-5, followed by another triple by Melgares that scored Smith with the tying run.

Tamura bounced a 2-1 pitch up the middle, just out of the reach of the Stix second baseman and Melgares scored the winning run.

In addition to her game-winning hit, Tamura was also the winning pitcher, hurling the final two innings of the championship game.

Tamura also had two other pitching victories on the weekend, while Amber Hildebrand and Chelsey Henry each picked up two wins in the circle.

Members of the Manhattan Optimist Lady Indians include Haleigh Harper, Henry, Hildebrand, Josie Hilgers, Ayanna Gamble, Melgares, Smith, Maddi Shaneyfelt, Tamura and Abby Whitney.

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