Tidal Waves Blue U18 Finishes 3-2 in AFA National Qualifier

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Byline: Rich Carlson Daily Herald Sports Writer

The Crystal Lake Tidal Waves Blue U18 softball team competed in the AFA National Qualifier in downstate Washington, near Peoria, over the holiday weekend and went 3-2 but failed to advance past Sunday action.

The Tidal Waves posted wins over the Rebels, the Rampage and Milton, all teams from Illinois. Unfortunately losses to the Sidekicks and the Pony Express from Colorado eliminated the Tidal Waves.

Michelle Kunz went 12-for-17 with 3 RBI to lead the Tidal Waves. Leslie Kinkopf went 7-for-12 and drove in 5 runs, Katie Pickens went 10-for-17 and drove in 3 runs and Kelly Landers went 9-for-18 and drove in 2 runs.

Michelle Puzzo pitched the Tidal Waves (16-8) to 2 victories and went 2-1 while Shannon Everett went 1-1 in the tournament.

The Tidal Waves played without third baseman Sunni Zak, who broke her leg 2 weeks ago and outfielder Kara Grossman, who is out with a sore arm. First baseman Becky Miller missed all but the final game due to vision problems after a broken contact lens.

"We hoped for a little bit better but we had a couple girls that were hurt so we had girls in positions they don't normally play," said coach Dave Pickens. "We all wish we would have done better but the girls played well. The hitting was good and the pitchers did well."

Tidal Waves Gold U16 softball

The Tidal Waves Gold went 5-3 and reached the quarterfinals of the AFA Qualifier in Washington, Ill. They lost their first game of pool play but then won five of the next six games to reach the final eight of the 32-team tournament. They fell 7-4 to the Belleville Tomahawks in the quarterfinal game.

Janette Ceisel went 2-1 and Emily Gerlick 2-0 to lead the pitching staff during the tournament. Nora Green hit .458 (11-of-24) to lead the hitting attack. Rachel Cleaveland batted .437, Andrea Buck .333 and Gerlick .304 in the tournament.

"We played very well and played good ball," said coach Mike Buck. "We got good pitching and timely hitting and it was really our defense that got us to the quarterfinals."

Tidal Waves White U16 softball

The Tidal Waves White also advanced to the quarterfinals of the AFA Qualifier over the weekend. They finished second in their pool but were eliminated after reaching the final eight of the 32-team tournament.

Ashley Anderson led the team in hits with 10 while Colleen Cotton had 9 hits, including 3 doubles, 2 triples and a home run, to lead the team in extra-base hits.

Stephanie Rasmusen (1 double, 1 triple) and Shannon Olson (2 doubles, 2 triples) each finished with 9 hits while Jenny Stauner (3 doubles) added 8 hits.

Nicole Marzano (2 doubles, 1 triple) added 7 hits, Sabrina Drogos (1 double) 6 hits and Beth Nagel (1 double) 5 hits. Chrissy Hansen had 4 hits and Theo Bicouvaris 2 hits.

Marzano, Hansen and Nagel combined for 51 innings of work on the mound and allowed just 17 runs. They allowed 24 hits and struck out 43.

Elgin Heat U16 softball

The Heat competed in the Lady Redwing Tournament in Rockford over the weekend and finished one game short of placing in the top four. The Heat went 4-2 in the tournament to improve to 19-12 this season.

Lauren Morstad threw a 5-hitter and struck out six to lead the Heat past the U.S.A Strutters 8-4. Katie Grens was 1-for-2 with 2 RBI and Stephanie Howard 1-for-3 with 2 RBI in the win.

Howard struck out six in a 11-1 win over Hoffman Estates and she was supported by Lindsey Karle, who went 3-for-4 with a double, triple and 3 RBI, Katie Grens, who went 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI and Kim Johnson, who went 1-for-2 with a double and 2 RBI. …