The Brookfield Little League 10-Under softball all-star team won the Little League District 9 championship the hard way.
Brookfield lost on the first night of the tournament falling 14-5 to LaGrange on July 7 and then battled back with two wins in the losers’ bracket before matching up with LaGrange again on Saturday in the finals, held at Ehlert Park in Brookfield.
Brookfield defeated LaGrange twice on July 10 to win the double-elimination championship and qualify for the Illinois state finals which will be held in Beardstown beginning July 23.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said coach Michael Melendez. “Very proud of these girls, especially dropping the first game and having to fight your way back knowing that you can no longer lose.”
On July 10, Brookfield exploded for 10 runs in the fifth inning to clobber LaGrange 19-3 in five innings in the first game. That set up a championship game for all the marbles, and Brookfield again scored 19 runs to win 19-10 and take the title.
In the second game, LaGrange scored seven runs in the bottom of the second inning to take an 8-4 lead, but Brookfield responded with five runs in the top of the third to regain the lead. Brookfield put the game away scoring four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Leadoff hitter and pitcher/first baseman Eleanor Kowynia let the Brookfield attack in the final game with four hits and five RBI while also scoring three runs. Bella Nasti earned the win after coming on in relief with two outs in the second inning. Nasti also had two hits and three RBI.
Amelia Pytel earned the save allowing just one run over the final three innings while not allowing a hit and striking out eight while walking three. Pytel also went one for three at the plate in the final game. She also drew two walks and scored two runs while driving in one.
Nineteen seemed to be the team’s lucky number. Not only did Brookfield score 19 runs in both games Saturday, they also scored 19 runs in defeating LaGrange Park 19-7 on July 8. On July 9, Brookfield edged Riverside 12-9 to advance to the final matchup with LaGrange.
Melendez said the team managed to stay relaxed despite facing win or go home pressure after their opening round loss.
“They really kind of almost coach themselves at a certain level, they help each other out they kind of repeat what the coaches say to each other,” Melendez said.