The 18U Diamond State Swoop softball team fell in the semifinals of the Ocean City Blast at the Beach June 19-21 at the Northside Park complex.
The tournament was the first since COVID-19 caused restrictions on sports. Each team had to shake off the rust.
Swoop had a slow start, falling 3-1 to the Cobras of Bear. The Swoop bats were mostly silent until the late innings, as the Cobras scored two in the first and held on to take a 3-1 victory.
Kylie Kruger of Sussex Tech went four innings in the circle for Swoop, striking out two Cobra batters. Abigail O'Shields from Indian River and West Virginia Wesleyan threw two innings in relief.
Sierra Livingston of Sussex Tech delivered with two hits for the Swoop.
Swoop got back on the winning track with a 5-0 shutout over the Force in their second game of the weekend. Kruger led the Swoop with two RBIs. Delmarva Christian and Roanoke College player Jordyn DiFava and rising Royals senior Kandice Schlabach each collected an RBI.
O’Shields threw two innings, striking out five more Force batters. Livingston picked up where she left off, hurling three innings and striking out five.
Kruger and Schlabach each went yard back-to-back in the third inning. Olivia Owens had two hits while Cape Henlopen and Randolph Macon’s Ryleigh Elliott picked up a single.
“I think we did OK, considering it was the first time on the field since the COVID restrictions,” said Swoop manager Jay Davis. “The tournament was a great tune-up for them, especially the five players going off to play at college.”
The Swoop kept the power going Saturday morning, delivering an 8-2 win over the Pennsylvania Ballhawks.
Livingston jacked a grand slam in the seven-run fifth inning to lead the late rally. Elliott also had an RBI in the game. Schlabach, Kruger and Delmar’s Jordan Moore each had a hit for Swoop.
Kruger picked up the victory, throwing six innings and striking out five.
O’Shields was hot in the circle in the Swoop 2-0 victory over the Churchville Lightning in the second game Saturday, striking out four.
Catcher Savannah O’Shields, Moore and Kruger each garnered a hit to lead the Swoop.
Swoop kept their winning ways going Sunday with a 4-2 victory over the K&K Raptors. Tied 2-2 after the fourth inning, DiFava delivered with a two-run single to put the game in the W file.
O’Shields went the distance in the circle, striking out eight.
The semifinals found the Swoop falling to the New Jersey Mystics 8-3.
The Swoop bats were led by Owens, who went 2-for-2 with two singles. Kruger and DiFava slammed doubles, while Elliott and Schlabach each had a hit.
“Overall we played well,” Davis said. “We want to win every game we play, but we did OK.”
“It was an amazing tournament,” said Livingston. “We finally played together as one team, and we work well as a unit. I’m so proud of everyone.”
Members of the Swoop 18U team are Sierra Livingston, Kylie Kruger, Jordyn DiFava, Olivia Owens, Kandice Schlabach, Elya Niblett, Jenna Tilghman, Savannah and Abigail O’Shields, Jordan Moore, Maria Kollar and Ryleigh Elliott.
The Swoop plays in the USSSA softball division. They will return to the diamond Friday, July 17, in Wilmington.