Friday, August 10, 2007


Dateline: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The Orange County Rage celebrate after beating the Pennsylvania Hurricanes 6-1 to advance to the Final Eight in the Class-A Softball World Series.

The Orange County Rage, a 16 & Under Fastpitch Softball Travel team, overcame relatively poor initial seeding (20th out of 22 teams), and blisteringly hot weather conditions today, playing their way through the “loser’s bracket” to advance to the Final Eight of the 2007 Softball World Series. The prestigious Myrtle Beach tournament has drawn teams from all up and down the East Coast, as well as a number of premier Midwest teams.

Four of our local Cornwall girls are playing for the Rage: 2nd baseman Amy Lindland (Cornwall H.S. JV), 3rd baseman Erin Miller (Cornwall H.S. JV), pitcher/first baseman Kelsey Hand (Cornwall H.S. Varsity), and left fielder Jules Kelly (Cornwall H.S. JV). The rest of the team is composed of players from all over the county (Goshen, Burke, Tuxedo, Chester, Monroe/Woodbury, Minisink, and Otisville).

The temperature was 104 and the heat index was at 120 degrees at game time on Friday – Myrtle Beach’s hottest recorded temperature since 1953. The Rage had already lost one game in the double elimination semifinals, so they needed to win both games today to stay in the tournament. They easily won their first game, 7-2 over the South Carolina Fusion. The second game was closer, with the Rage clinging to a slim 2-1 lead through the first four innings. Jules Kelly capped a four-run rally in the fifth inning with a 2 RBI single, and the Rage beat the Pennsylvania Hurricanes 6-1.

Manager Jim Lloyd feels good about the team’s chances in the final, and says they have played much better than their 3-3-1 tournament record indicates. “This team is as good as any team down here. The games that we have won have been by wide margins, and our losses have been one run games.”

The scrappy Rage team faces a new challenge as they look ahead to tomorrow’s final. They will need to play (and win) four straight games to win the tournament, and they are down to just nine players. They had already lost their regular first baseman to mononucleosis and the second catcher has a shoulder injury that has left her unable to throw. In today’s opener, centerfielder Rebecca Monteith dove for a fly ball and broke her collarbone, taking her out of the lineup. The nine remaining players include the two pitchers, who alternate playing first when they are not pitching.

Despite the heat, the Cornwall girls feel they are up for the challenge.

“We’re playing really well. If we stick together and continue to hit the way we have been, we can do it,” said Kelsey Hand. Erin Miller chimed in. “And if we all stay hydrated, we can do it.” The Rage play their first game Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m.

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