Diamond Dream 14-U softball caps off with Tri-State Border War championship

The Diamond Dream 14-and-under team is all smile after finishes the Summer season with a Tri-State Border War tournament championship

WHEELING — The Diamond Dream 14-and-under softball team, coached by Billy Beachler alongside both Danny Marple and Levi Abel traveled to Wheeling this past Friday, August 12 for their last tournament of what has been a very busy, productive Summer season in the Tri-State Border War.  

In game one, the Diamond Dreamers fell short against a tough Queen Bees 14-and-under squad by a final score of 7 to 4. Diamond Dream fell behind early and couldn’t quite manage to pull off a comeback.  

Not discouraged by their opening day loss, Diamond Dream rebounded in their first game on Saturday, August 14 fending off a tough challenge from the PA Revolution 13-under team and escaping with the 4 to 3 win. Baylee Beachler earned the win from her perch on the mound for the Diamond Dream 14-and-under team. The young righthander only gave up there runs on five hits over five innings, while striking out ten and only walking one. As a team, Diamond Dream racked up total seven hits, with Katelyn Cooper and Payton Holbert each managing two hits each to tie for the team lead.  

In their second game on Saturday, Diamond Dream dropped a close, high-scoring affair to the Ohio Valley River Dogs 14-and-under team. A near flawless, two home runs and four RBIs, in only two appearances at the plate, performance from Beachler wasn’t quite enough to lift Diamond Dream past the River Dogs. 

On Sunday, August 14 Diamond Dream settled an old score in a big way no hitting the Queen Bees team that had gotten the best of them on the tournament’s opening day, winning by a final score of 10-0. This special group of Diamond Dreamers were clicking on all cylinders on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Diamond Dream racked up seven runs in just the first inning. The huge inning was driven by singles from Cooper, Holbert, and Marple and an error on a ball put in play by Alyssa Abel. As a team Diamond Dream collected eight hits with Avery Hamer, Cooper, and Kynnedy Marple each tying for the team lead with two hits apiece. 

Defensively, the shift/rotations, the pitching, and fielding were all superb, not allowing a single error all game. The Diamond Dream squad’s discipline aided Beachler in her flamethrower performance in which she flirted with posting a perfect game. By the the end of the game, Beachler had allowed zero hits and zero runs over four innings, striking out eight and walking one. 

In game two on Sunday, Diamond Dream held off a late run from Wicked Fastpitch 14-and-under, pulling out a close victory by a final score of 10 to 8. Both offenses were strong at the plate with Diamond Dream collecting seven hits and Wicked Fastpitch coming away with eight in the high-scoring affair.  

Defensively, Beachler got the starting nod in the circle, contributing a solid three inning performance before Ava Shaffer came out of the bullpen to relieve her. Shaffer recorded the last three outs to earn the save against Wicked Fastpitch or Diamond Dream. Offensively, Diamond Dream collected seven hits on the day.  Beachler and Holbert each collected two hits apiece to tie for the team lead. Holbert provided the best highlight of the game, smashing a home run out of the park in the third inning helping push her team an appearance in the semifinals.  

In their third game in Sunday, the relentless Diamond Dream 14-and-under team cruised by Bulter in the semi-finals by a score of 8 to 1. After a lengthy pitcher’s duel had culminated in a deadlocked tie at 1 to 1 in the top of the fourth when the Diamond Dream hitting lineup caught fire racking up seven runs over the final two innings pushing themselves into the championship game with some clutch late game heroics as a unit. Shaffer picked up the win in the mound after a masterful complete game performance on the mound.  Shaffer only allowed three hits and one run over five innings, striking out six batters without walking any. Offensively, Cooper led the charge at the plate, posting an efficient 3-for-3 stat line at the plate to lead Diamond Dream in hits. 

The championship game between the Diamond Dream 14-and-under and the Lightning Parks 14-and-under teams exceeded even the highest expectations, as these two talented, resilient groups of young ladies competed hard, leaving it all on the field in a contest of wills. In the end, Diamond Dream was able to pull out the hard-fought win, in what proved to be an eight-inning heavyweight prizefight, landing the knockout blow in the top of the eighth after Abel scored off a wild pitch. The margin of error was that close between these two teams, one untimely mistake for the Lightning Parks squad quite literally might have cost them the same. Granted, the Lightning Parks team had the chance to respond and even steal a win from the jaws of defeat in the bottom of the eighth but were ultimately unable to handle a laser focused Beachler on the mound, as she struck out the last three batters to seal the win. Beachler’s clutch championship game performance consisted of eight strike outs and no more walks, while only surrendered three runs on five hits over a full eight innings on the mound. However, this game easily could have gone the other way, had her teammates not been mistake-free in the field. As a group the fundamentally sound Diamond Dream defense didn’t commit a single error. 

Offensively, Abel was the hero of the day, blasting a home run in the second inning before showing amazing presence of mind to take advantage of a wild pitch and score the game deciding run late.  

Despite the fireworks Abel provided, it was a total team effort for the Diamond Dream 14-and-under team as all Beachler, Abel, Cooper, Shaffer, Holbert, Hamer and Marple all had one hit to tie lead Diamond Dream in the championship game win.  

The thrilling win concluded the Summer season for the Diamond Dream 14-and-under team. The Diamond Dream team finished the season with a 21-22 overall record against high-caliber competition. This special group of girls will soon be preparing to take their talents the high school softball season and I am for one excited to watch this talented group of young ladies grow and continue to learn the game. 

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