By John Dross
The Creeks Crushers 8U softball team won the Babe Ruth World Series Championship, held July 28 – Aug. 6 in Jensen Beach. This tournament was comprised of state and regional championship winners from around the United States, showcasing the best players and teams in the country.
The week began with pool play games which were used to determine seeding for the bracket-style, double elimination tournament format. The Crushers went 4 – 0 in pool play with impressive victories over North Carolina (11-2), Kentucky (14-4), Alabama (30-5) and Puerto Rico (8-2). With a remarkable run differential of 63 –13, the Crushers were positioned well going into the bracket play.
With a 3-0 record in bracket play, Creeks found themselves in the familiar position of playing in the championship game. The District, State, and Regional champions were one win away from capping a dream season. All that stood between them, and the World Series title was a rematch against a talented Virginia team. Virginia had battled their way out of the loser’s bracket after a close loss to Creeks earlier in the week, while Creeks remained undefeated, forcing Virginia to win two games to claim the title.
After a slow start, Creeks managed to push two runs across in the bottom of the second to open the scoring and followed that with a four-run effort in the third. With a 6 – 0 lead heading into the top of the fourth inning, the Virginia bats came alive, scoring four runs of their own. Creeks was able to respond with two of their own in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 8 – 4. The top of the fifth inning started with a dazzling defensive play by Emma Ash. The Virginia leadoff hitter drove a ball in the gap to the wall. Ash tracked the ball down and executed a perfect relay throw to shortstop Isla Kruayai, who in turn fired a strike to third baseman Braylee Rosette to record the first out of the inning at third base. This remarkable play had momentum on the Creeks side. The following half inning saw the Crushers extend the lead with clutch hits by Jordan William and Camryn Kruayai to put the game out of reach as the 8U Creeks Crushers clinched the World Series Championship.
The Creeks Crushers were dominant throughout the tournament, posting a perfect 8 – 0 record and outscoring their opponents by a combined total of 113 – 26. Their team batting average of .567 and defensive fielding percentage of .918 were also tops among all World Series participants.
In addition to the team accolades, multiple players brought home individual awards for the efforts. Jordan Williams and Ella Hofrichter won gold glove awards presented to the World Series all-tournament defensive team. Isla Kruayai, Chloe Harkins and Georgia Griffin received All-World Series Team honors. Chloe Harkins earned the title of World Series batting champion with a batting average of .800 and was also named World Series MVP.
The Crushers finished this storybook season with a record of 29 – 5, winning 21 games in a row to end the season.
Photo courtesy John Dross
Creeks Crushers are Babe Ruth World Series champs