Express team splits local tourney

The Snohomish County Express 12U fastpitch team split their two games in a 14U tournament at M-P High School July 21.
Overcast skies and muddy fields resulted in a cancellation of the tournaments scheduled second-day playoffs.
After a couple of weeks off from softball, coach Rick Fritzs team faced a familiar rival in their first game the Woodinville Reign team that defeated them in the state National Softball Association title game. The Express fell 2-1 to the Reign in that game in Wenatchee.
Monica Clow pitched the rematch, and the Express got out to an early two-run lead off RBIs by Jessica Christensen and Holly Hawkins.
But then, Fritz said, the team gave up four unearned runs, to lose 4-2.
The girls competed and played really well. Sometimes you just dont get the breaks youre looking for, Fritz said. This tournament were playing is actually a 14U tournament and were playing up. But that team we played was another 12U team playing up.
The Express fared better against their second opponent.
Hawkins started on the mound and pitched three shutout innings in the second game as the Express faced the West Sound Islanders. The girls put up six runs in the first inning and held off a comeback by the Islanders to win 6-5.
Fritz characterized the win as a team effort.
In the second game, Brooke Taylor, she had a two-RBI single in the first inning that was a big one. She went 1-for-2. Nobody else had more than one hit, he said. It got started with Brookes bases-loaded single.
In addition to Taylor, four girls had hits to build the Express lead identical twins Chloe and Lauren Kestersen, Haley Fritz and Dallas Nelsen. Abbey Sealey and Kristen Musgrove contributed to the six-run tally with sacrifice bunts for an RBI each.
With an Oregon tournament on the horizon, coach Fritz said he used the second game as an opportunity to play back-up players and move others around.
One such move was subbing Haley Fritz for Hawkins at pitcher.
Holly pitched really great. I didnt take her out for any reason but to give the other kids a chance, the elder Fritz explained.
After plans fell through for a Stockton, Calif., tournament, the girls hit the road July 26 for a four-day tournament to cap their season. Fritz said he expects the team will rely on their bread and butter, their defensive play.
Our fielding and defense is usually the strongest part of our game and held strong, he said.
After the tournament and a summer jam-packed with softball, Fritz hopes his players will take some time to kick back and break from the sport.
Well do some fall ball and then hopefully the girls will go play some other sports and get softball out of their blood for a little while, he said, adding, Most of my girls play other sports. At a young age I dont like them committing to one sport.

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