Mid-MO Evolution's four fast-pitch softball teams recently brought first place and runner-up trophies back to Waynesville after playing in the April Classic tournament in Columbia, Mo. over the weekend.
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mid-MO Evolution's four fast-pitch softball teams recently brought first place and runner-up trophies back to Waynesville after playing in the April Classic tournament in Columbia, Mo. over the weekend.
Coach Jason Marcum's 16U team captured an Open Division championship after going an impressive 4-0. The team scored 34 runs in those games, surrendering six. Marcum's team defeated the Columbia Rockers 9-1 in the championship game to claim the title. Evolution pitchers Jade DeShurley and Marena Coonrod earned two wins each.
"I cannot put into words how proud I am of the way our young ladies played and what lies ahead of them," Marcum said. "Our pitchers shut teams down; Katelynn Miller was a brick wall behind the plate; our defense was solid all weekend long; hitters undressed softballs over the course of the tournament and we executed our up-tempo offense to the point of forcing teams into defensive mistakes."
Coach Vince Friend's 14U Evolution team earned a runner-up designation in its final Open Division contest, a loss to the scrappy Show-Me Desire team in the championship game, 6-4. Friend's squad finished the tournament with a record of 3-2. Ariel Prater and Chloe Johnson earned pitching victories on the mound. The team scored 29 runs and gave up 18.
"Coach Friend's young ladies took a huge step forward this weekend," Marcum said. "They are young, talented, and they have a big future in front of them."
A younger Evolution squad, coach Doug Loggins' 12U team, finished the tournament with a 2-2 record behind pitchers Jordan Thormeyer's and Trista Heavin's effort. Columbia's Mid-MO Heat, which carries a 30-2 record and has not lost to a 12UB team all year, ended the 12U Evolution's hopes and became the eventual division champs. Loggins' team scored 40 runs in its four games – including a 25-8 mauling of the Brookfield Blues – while surrendering 28.
"We continue to be impressed by [the 12U team]," Marcum said. "Coaches Loggins, Dexter Davis and Stacy Kirker have poured their hearts into this group, and [players'] continued growth is evident."
Coach Brian Parker's 16U team competed with some quality teams, but finished the tournament 0-3, including a disappointing 1-0 loss. Stringing hits together plagued Parker's team all weekend long.
"The team is hitting, but teams have to move base runners to push runs across the plate," Marcum said.
Marcum's team is currently ranked No. 1 in the State, No. 7 in USSSA's Region 5 and No. 16 in the nation in power rankings. The team will travel to Kansas City, Mo. this weekend to play in Mid-West Sports Production's 16UA Combat Series tournament. The top ranked team in the nation and several other highly skilled teams will also compete.
"We are looking forward to playing the state's and nation's best," Marcum said. "All four of our teams will play anyone, anywhere, and at anytime [and] we'll never back down from a challenge."
Loggins' 12U team is ranked No. 10 in the State and Friend's 14U team is just outside the top 20.
*Note: Power rankings are formulated by a team's winning percentage, teams' beaten winning percentage, teams' lost to winning percentage, number of games played, and by number of wins and losses.