Midnight Suns end season on a high note

Suns' 14-and-under team dominates Oregon tournament

Posted: Thursday, July 07, 2005

Juneau's Midnight Suns' 14-and-under softball team capped off a successful season last weekend by capturing the Newberg Firecracker Tournament in Newberg, Ore.

The Suns dominated tournament play, outscoring their opponents 50-15 in the process.

"Our defense was working for us," said Suns manager Michael Lavering. "We had real strong pitching performances. We worked on a lot of defensive situations and tried to catch runners off base a lot."

The Midnight Suns completed their perfect weekend by winning their sixth-straight game on Sunday, topping the Vancouver Avalanche 8-4 in seven innings for the championship.

Juneau held a 4-0 lead after four and a half innings, but the Avalanche rallied for three runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to force extra innings.

In the seventh, Kristie Ely drove in Amanda Leamer with the go-ahead run. Rachel Peyton, Darby Brown and Lii Lavale all added RBIs to put their side up 8-4.

Pitcher Krista Barril held down Vancouver in the bottom half of the seventh to give Juneau the championship.

"They're a great group of girls," Lavering said. "They held their chins up when we lost that one game 8-0 last week. They were very magnanimous when we did win. They didn't rub anyone's noses in it and I was proud of that. They were gracious winners."

The Suns opened play on Saturday by routing the Liberty Patriots 14-1.

Hannah Massey homered, Peyton went 2-for-2, Brown singled and tripled and Randi Chernikoff went 2-for-2 in the win. Nethia Lavering added a triple as Chernikoff earned the pitching win.

In the second game on Saturday, Juneau defeated the Salem Herricanes 7-1.

Brown broke the game open with a three-run triple. Ely went 2-for-3, Chernikoff was 1-for-2 and Lavering doubled in the win.

Barril picked up the pitching victory.

In Sunday's contest against the Lebanon Blaze, Massey and Peyton each went 2-for-3 as the Suns won 15-5.

Brown went 2-for-2 with a triple and Barril hit a home run.

Chernikoff pitched well to earn the win as the Suns went 3-0 in pool play to qualify for the semifinals.

In the semifinal contest, the Midnight Suns rallied from a three-run deficit to top the Patriots 6-3.

Brown delivered the big blow by cracking a two-run home run.

Barril earned the pitching win.

"All of the girls performed well," coach Lavering said. "I was very proud of everyone one of them. It seemed like they learned everything I tried to teach them all year long and they put it to good use."

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at sports@juneauempire.com.

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