A week after winning the New Ulm tournament, the James Gang 16U team picked up where they left off, winning the St. James Railroad Days Tournament championship.
The James Gang received a bye in the first round, automatically placing them in the semi-final round.
In the semi-finals against Venom, out of Dodge Center, ace Addie Bowers struck out 14, pitching a perfect game, adding to an already impressive resume, and continuing her dominance in the summer circuit.
“Her composure is what impresses me most,” said coach Luke Bowers. “She never gets rattled and it doesn’t matter what goes on out there.”
A pair of RBI groundouts from Chloe Mickelson and Maddie Brey in the third inning broke the scoreless tie. Mickelson provided an insurance run in the fifth, scoring on a throwing error.
The pitching and defensive gem placed the James Gang in the championship to play Sleepy Eye.
Bowers was once again sharp, but Sleepy Eye’s Molly Carnell matched Bowers pitch for pitch through the first four innings. In the fifth, the James Gang offense sprung into action, plating seven runs.
“We decided we were going to play some small ball,” said Bowers. “We wanted to drop down some bunts and see how they moved and how they fielded it. Carnell is a good pitcher and we’ve seen her before, and we knew she’d be tough so we knew we needed to get to her somehow."
Eva Rohmsdahl broke the scoreless tie, reaching on a Sleepy Eye error, scoring Jaelyn Haler. Following a Lunden Swanson strikeout, the James Gang collected five straight hits, pushing the lead to 5-0.
A single from Haler scored Samantha Tetzloff, and Kelsey Grunewald scored on a passed ball, polishing off the seven-run outburst.
Bowers slammed the door shut in the fifth and sixth innings, finishing with six strikeouts, giving up just one hit to the first batter of the game.
The last calendar year has been filled with success for this group of girls, winning a national championship last summer and a strong start to this year’s summer season, continuing to rack up wins at a feverish pace.
“This never gets old. The girls love it and feed off it. I’m not sure what else there is to accomplish.”
With a group armed with powerful bats and an elite arm, James Gang is just getting started on their tour de force.