Match-ups from across the Carolinas: From fields to lanes, athletes burn it up in Charlotte
The Carolina Softball Association (CSA) wrapped up their spring season on July 29 with their championship tournament. Five Charlotte area teams battled the hot and humid conditions for the title of Top Team. In the play-in game, fifth seed MCC Angels upset the fourth seed, Unity Conquerors, and advanced to the semifinals with slick fielding from shortstop Shawn Carlton and timely hitting from coach, Carla Kimrey.
In semifinal number one, the two-seed, Charlotte Pride, took on the three-seed, Hartigans. Carrying a 12-4 record into the game, Charlotte Pride looked poised to move on to the finals easily versus the 6-10 Hartigan‚Äôs team. But, Hartigan‚Äôs played smart and stayed close throughout the game, never being down more than a couple of runs at any point. In the end, however, the defensive prowess of Pride proved to be better, highlighted by stellar plays from right fielder Richard Huggins and left fielder Kristin Knox.
Semifinal number two featured the newly rejuvenated MCC Angels, and the number one seed, the Sidelines Sluggers. The Sluggers were 14-2 during the regular season and were heavily favored to win against the 2-14 Angels. But, like with most tournaments, the regular season stats can be throw out the window. This game came down to the final inning, the last at-bat and the game tied. The sometime contentious thriller was ended when the Sluggers were able to score the winning run on a single from Mark Herring, advancing them to the finals to face the Pride.
The championship was decided by a high scoring battle between the two best teams. Pride jumped out early in the first, plating 10 runs in their opening at bat. Sluggers answered with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the first, but were not able to overcome the deficit by the end of the game, losing 20-18. Kristin Knox continued her outstanding play by making a dive into a catch in left field on a line drive off the bat of John Nikolovski in the fourth inning that ended a promising run for the Sluggers. Bobby Shaw kept the Sluggers in the game by going 4-5 with two homeruns and clutch hitting from Tammy Benfield. In the end, the Sluggers could not overcome the 12 walks given up by their team and the exceptional play of Pride‚Äôs pitcher and coach, John Rukavina.
The fall CSA softball season starts up September 16. Go online to carolinasoftball.org to find out how to register.
On Sept. 15, the Charlotte Royals will welcome to Charlotte the internationally renowned World Barbarians rugby team coach, Gus Ventura. He will be in town to help run their Rugby 101 clinic. The team is looking to build on their incredibly successful spring 2012 season, with an even better fall one. Any interested parties who want to find out more about rugby, learn how the game is played or just meet the team, are encouraged to check it out. For more information, charlotteroyals.org.
The Charlotte Rainbowlers League is excited to kick off another season of bowling for fall 2012. Kick-off Information/sign-up meeting for the upcoming season will be held at AMF Centennial Lanes on South Blvd., which is also where the league competes, on Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m. If you cannot make that, and are still interested in bowling, contact them on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/26087579212/. : :