The Brookfield Storm played like champions at least for one memorable game during the 11-12 year old girls Little League Softball Section 1 Championship held in LaSalle-Peru last weekend.
After losing 13-1 to District 19 representative Sterling on Thursday, the Storm bounced back with an impressive 18-7 victory against Peru in an elimination game on Saturday.
The Storm pulled away from Peru by scoring eight runs on nine hits – including five straight hits at one point – in the sixth inning. Tenley Bozzi (5-for-6, 4 runs), Amanda Lopez (4-for-5, 3 runs), Camyrn Hamilton (4-for-5, 2 runs) and Nicole McCabe (3-for-4) led the Storm offensively. Reserve Izza Eliopulos also chipped in two hits, while Brenna Mangan, Kayla Verdon and Sarah Schneider starred on defense.
“This was our best game of the postseason,” Brookfield coach Gary Hoyd said. “Peru is no slouch. [They are] a quality team that won a very difficult district tournament to get to sectionals. Our girls played so well together and I was extremely proud. They knew who was next [Sterling] if we won but it didn’t matter. They wanted another shot at Sterling because they felt they could beat them.”
In the re-match, Sterling defeated the Storm 13-0 in the sectional title game. Sterling, whose players essentially compete year-round as a travel team, proved too much for Brookfield (3-2).
“Sterling is a very good opponent who we struggled against,” Hoyd said. “We could only manage four hits, but the girls kept a very positive attitude. It’s unfortunate we lost because I believe we had one of the best true Little League All-Star teams in the state.”
Overall, the Storm enjoyed a fun-filled, successful albeit short summer run.
“We beat a good LaGrange team to win the District 9 Championship,” Hoyd said. “It’s a good group of kids. There was a little bit of friction during the [Brookfield Little League Softball] regular season because these girls are competitive. They jelled really well on this team. A lot of them turned out to be very good friends. I think it was a positive experience for everybody.”
Hoyd also praised the Brookfield community for supporting its girls All-Star team. Despite the hour-and-a-half drive to LaSalle-Peru, about 50 people made the trip to St. Mary’s Park to cheer on the Storm.
“Every kid on our team had a parent or both of them at the games,” Hoyd said. “Older girls who have played in Brookfield Little League also came, and people had their cars decorated with Brookfield colors.”
The Storm consists of Kylee Bravo, Lyndsey Hoyd, Camryn Hamilton, Isabella Eliopulos, Tenley Bozzi, Cameron Shaw, Monica Schmidt, Kayla Verdon, Sophia Spirios, Nicole McCabe, Amanda Lopez, Sarah Schneider and Brenna Mangan. Hoyd, Mike Bozzi and Dave Schmidt are the coaches, and Thunder is the team mascot.