The Texas Attitude 18U Fastpitch Club failed to defend their PONY Southern National Title, finishing fourth in the 2011 PONY Nationals in Round Rock on July 20-23. The Attitude finished up the tournament with a 5-3 record; including four home runs, a no hitter, errorless play at third base and stealing home.
The Attitude found out early that the target was on their foreheads when they were up-ended by HERO 18 in the opening game on Wednesday, 2-1. The Attitude bounced back with a win against the Rio Grand Valley Thunder Black then finished off the pool play with a 9-2 win over the Texas Blast. Mackenzie Jones (Frisco Centennial) earned the win and led the offense with a double to end the game.
The girls then opened bracket play against the host Round Rock Stealth and Avery Cranford (Sam Rayburn) stepped up with a no hit, shut out and her first career homer for the Attitude. The games were played on a baseball field and the fences sat at just over 300 feet, but Cranford roped a ball down the first base line and into the corner to stroll round the bases for an in-the-park home run. Rachel Grider (Silo, OK) and Raven Gutierrez (McKinney North) both went 2 for 3 with a pair of RBI each. Grider ended the fourth inning with a successful steal home, her second stolen base of the game.
The Attitude then defeated the Laredo Regulators 8-1 behind the pitching of Grayson signee Amelia Grimes. The offensive attack was led by two Centennial players, Caroline Curtiss who went 4 for 4 with a pair of runs scored and Holly von Ehrenfried who homered for the first time this summer. The win put the Attitude into their bracket's semifinals against eventual champions Round Rock Blaze. The Attitude accumulated just four hits in the shutout loss where Avery Cranford lasted just two innings before giving up the circle to Grimes.
The Attitude bounced back with a 11-1 win over the Austin Stampede. Grimes took yet another win in the circle and this time it was another Sam Rayburn product with the big stick. Lead-off hitter and short game expert Ali Weichman was given the green light to swing away and she drilled a ball to right field that went over the head of the right fielder, making it an easy four bases for the speedy Weichman, a 3 RBI shot and the first of her career. The win sent the Attitude to the final four bracket for the highly anticipated rematch from the 2010 title game.
Cranford took the circle, but LA Chaos was able to pound out five hits and eight runs in just three innings. von Ehrenfried replaced Grimes at shortstop in the third then in the fourth she sent another long ball over the head of the left fielder for her second home run of the tournament. Again when one Centennial player showed strong offense, so did another as Curtiss went 3 for 3 with 3 runs scored and 2 stolen bases, but Chaos was just too aggressive at the plate and the Attitude was eliminated 13-3.
One player seemed to stand out defensively and on the bases to the point the coaches, parents and players received compliments on Grider's play all week. The Silo junior played every inning of the tournament (she started at designated player one game, but entered in the third) at third base and did not commit an error. She was also 5 for 12 at the plate in bracket play with 4 RBI and 3 stolen bases.
Front l-r: Raven Gutierrez, Jade Nowlin (Atoka, OK), Taylor Falco (Whitesboro), Amelia Grimes, Ali Weichman, Rachel Grider, Monica Reed (Whitesboro), Caroline Curtiss
Back l-r: Coach Jasen Sloan, Avery Cranford, Mackenzie Jones, Holly von Ehrenfried, Kendra Hanson (Leonard), Cheyenne Wilson (Calisburg), Paige Mahaney (Denison), Linzy Bond, Manager D. Allen Hilsdon.