Lunatics headed to World Series
Lawrence The Lunatics softball team started strong but had a bumpy finish at the American Fastpitch Assn. National Tournament last week in Lawrence.
After winning their first two games in pool play in impressive fashion, they dropped their final pool play game and then lost both of their bracket play contests.
"It was the worst we've played in two weeks," Lunatics coach Terry Denney said after his team was eliminated by the KC Illusion, 5-4, on Friday.
The three-game losing skid put the Lunatics in unfamiliar territory because the squad has been used to winning and winning a lot - during tournaments this summer. They have two second-place finishes, as well as a third- and a fourth-place finish on their resume this summer.
Still, Denney said there were plenty of positives that his players could take away from nationals. For one, they started strong by beating the Sooner (Okla.) Stars 3-2 and then hammering the Omaha (Neb.) Extreme 6-0. Pitchers Abby Mears and Laura Anderson both threw well. Shortstop Katie Thompson, third baseman Heather Garza and catcher Chelsey Grant all played well defensively. Shae Salawich had a good tournament at the plate.
He said the main weakness at nationals was his squad's hitting. A few players hit consistently, but throughout the tournament the Lunatics struggled to string a series of hits together.
"We treated this basically as a tune-up for the World Series," Denney said of nationals. "We've seen what we have to work on. I think we'll do alright."
Denney said he hoped the Lunatics would build on those strengths as they begin play in the USSSA World Series at 8 a.m. Tuesday at Mid-America West Sports Complex in Shawnee.
"I think defensive-wise we're there," Denney said of his team's chances at the World Series. "I think we're one of the best teams out there."