K-18 Fastpitch Wins Twice, Returns to Final

Russell earned a pair of wins on Saturday, July 16 to make the championship game of the K-18 State Fastpitch Softball Tournament in Lucas. (Photo courtesy of Rita Sharp from Lucas-Sylvan News)
Russell earned a pair of wins on Saturday, July 16 to make the championship game of the K-18 State Fastpitch Softball Tournament in Lucas. (Photo courtesy of Rita Sharp from Lucas-Sylvan News)

LUCAS-The defending state champion Russell K-18 fastpitch softball team will have the opportunity to retain their title after two wins on Saturday, July 16 at the K-18 State Softball Tournament at the Lucas baseball field.  

Russell's first opponent of the day was Plainville and Russell trailed 7-5 after two innings before scoring 13 runs in their final three at bats to claim an 18-10 victory. Tionna Napue turned the game around with a two-out, two-strike three-run double in the top of the third inning and then scored on an error to turn a 7-6 deficit into a 10-7 lead. Sydney Kraus pitched a complete game to pick up the win.

Russell next faced Phillipsburg, which had a first round bye. Phillipsburg touched up Kraus for four runs in the bottom of the first inning before Napue relieved her to start the second frame. Russell trailed 4-2 as late as top of the fourth inning before erupting for seven runs in that frame and three more in the top of the fifth to punch their ticket to Sunday's championship game with the 12-4 victory. Napue worked three scoreless innings to claim the win in the semifinal.

Russell (9-6) advances to the title game where they will take on a familiar opponent, Ellis. Russell won the 2021 K-18 crown a year ago this weekend with a 14-0 victory over Ellis. It will be a big task for Russell this time around as Ellis' pitching is significantly improved. Ellis defeated Osborne in Saturday's other semifinal 9-1.

Phillipsburg and Osborne will square off in the third place game at 10 AM on Sunday back in Lucas and the title game will start approximately 30 minutes after the third place game concludes.

Saturday's Results:

1st Round - Osborne 12, Ness City 4
1st Round - Russell 18, Plainville 10
Semifinals - Ellis 9, Osborne 1
Semifinals - Russell 12, Phillipsburg 4