Fresh off a dramatic final inning comeback to beat American Freedom, 9-8, Finesse 18u Blevins was fired for its second Fireworks double elimination bracket contest. The Michigan natives wouldn’t need its late-game heroics versus the San Jose Lady Sharks, moving a step closer to the Championship Single Elimination Bracket with a 15-3 victory.
“I always tell my team to come in a never let off the gas pedal,” said head coach Greg Blevins. “Every team here is good and they’re here for a reason. No one is coming from around the country to not be ready to play softball. So, I tell my team to stay focused the entire time and stick to the game plan.”
Tessa Nuss kicked off the came with a single but after two passed balls, she was standing just 60 feet away from home. Two batters later, Sierra Kersten drove Nuss home with a grounder towards shortstop.
Nuss was just getting her day started.
The lefty came back to the plate in the top of the second inning with the bases loaded and two out. Jumping on the first offering from the Sharks’ pitcher, Nuss launched a grand slam over the fence, giving her squad a 5-0 advantage.
“I been working on my full swings lately and wanted to see what I could do outside of practice,” said Nuss. “In every at-bat, I just tried to read what the defense was giving me. I want to be a three-dimensional player at the plate, so I try to work on everything.”
In the circle, Finesse’s lead appeared safe and secure with Alexis Bonk at the reins. By the time Bonk turned the keys over to Makayla Thompson in the fourth inning, she had struck out seven Shark batters and didn’t allow a runner past second base.
“Alexis is a bulldog in the circle,” said Blevins. “She knows she has great teammates behind her and ever time the stakes get higher, she seems to rise to the occasion.”
“I was still pumped from our comeback win in the last game and it carried over into our second matchup,” Bonk explained. “I was able to get ahead in a lot of my counts early and that’s always a nice place to pitch from.”
Following a three-run top of the third inning which included a two-run home run from Allysa Lake, Finesse kept the pedal to the metal in the fourth and fifth frames. Five runs crossed the plate in the fourth as six players collected hits and Nuss showed her power again in the fifth, blasting a solo shot. Nuss’ 4-4 morning included two home runs, a bunt single, five RBI and four runs scored.
“Tessa works so hard on her game,” Blevins said. “We’re working really hard on her ability to read the defense. I want her to know where she can get a hit no matter what teams throw at her. Of course, she also showed her power from the left side today.”
Despite giving up three runs in the fourth, Thompson guided the ship home in the fifth and sixth innings, sealing Finesse’s 15-3 victory and propelling her team one win away from the Championship Single Elimination Bracket.
“As long as we support each other and keep our energy up as a team, we can keep this thing rolling tomorrow,” said Bonk.