Optimist Lady Indians win USSSA state title

By The Mercury

The Manhattan Optimist Lady Indians softball team won a second state championship in as many weeks, pounding the KC Panthers 10-0 in the championship game of the USSSA 14-and-under class B tournament at Mid-America Sports Complex this past weekend.

Just eight days earlier, the Lady Indians captured the ASA 14B championship in Salina. The team posted an 8-0 record against many of the best class B teams in Kansas the last two weeks.

Ayanna Gamble was named the tournament MVP for the Optimist Lady Indians, knocking two homers out of the park during the weekend. She also drove in all four runs for the squad in a 4-1 quarterfinal victory over the Salina Stealth. She had 11 RBIs on 7-for-15 hitting.

But it was a well-rounded attack by the team that led to victory. The team had 47 hits in five games, including a 9-for-12 weekend by Maddi Shaneyfelt. Seven players on the team had at least one multi-hit game in the tournament.

In the opening round, the Optimist Lady Indians beat the Kansas City Crunch 12-8, followed by a 6-2 win over the Topeka Toxic. After beating the Stealth in the quarterfinals, the squad downed the Topeka Adrenaline 7-3 in the semifinals.

The KC Panthers had fought their way to the championship round through loser’s bracket games, but ran into the red hot Lady Indians in the finals. The teams were tied 0-0 after two innings before the Lady Indians got four in the third, and six in the fourth to end the game on the 10-run rule.

Pitcher Chelsey Henry got the championship game win, as well as the win against the Toxic. Amber Hildebrand also was 2-0 on the weekend, and Hana Tamura was 1-0.

Other members of the championship Lady Indians are Haleigh Harper, Josie Hilgers, Cara Melgares, Kenzie Smith and Abby Whitney. The squad is now 38-4-1 for the 2013 season.

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