PITTSFIELD -- Battle tested and unscathed.
The softball team from Mad ison County, N.C., made it through pool play undefeated at the Babe Ruth 16-Under World Series. The team from Asheville remained perfect in double-elimination to reach tonight’s final.
Sam Gospel threw a complete-game, three-hit shutout as Madison County beat Lodi, Calif. 6-0 Sun day night at the Doyle Complex. Gosnell helped her cause by going 2 for 4 with a two-run triple and an RBI single.
The two teams spent most of the day away from the complex. Gosnell said that didn’t make them nervous.
"It was actually pretty enjoyable," said Gosnell, of the long wait before the 8:30 p.m. first pitch. "You got to relax and have your time with your teammates and do stuff on your own.
"Then you have to come out here and play in a wonderful place like this -- and kill it."
That was an understatement. Gosnell retired the first eight batters she faced in the game. The left-hander walked only two and retired the final five hitters. She also struck out three and only two Lodi hitters -- Veronica Smith and Jamie Lewis -- reached the outfield.
"It’s a tough loss, but we’ll see them again," said Smith, who had all three of her team’s hits. "It’s just a bump in the road.
"Their pitching was amazing. We have to give it to her. She was a good pitcher. She kept us all off balance and did her job."
Lodi now plays Kinnelon, N.J. in the elimination-bracket final today at 11 a.m.
The Commissioner’s Cup will be decided today as well. The Berkshire Force will play at 8:30 this morning against the winner of last night’s West Volusia, Fla., game against Hoquiam, Wash. Plymouth and Rochester, N.H. will also play at 8:30 a.m. The championship game of the Commissioner’s Cup is set for 3:30, with an "if" game following.
Madison County scored all the runs Gosnell needed in the third inning, as Madison plated three runs on three hits and an error.
The inning started when Alex Nix reached on an error by Lodi pitcher Mariah Mendoza. Nix moved to second on a one-out bunt single by Hannah Anders. Gosnell followed with her triple to left and scored when Lexi Ammons doubled to left.
Not that Gosnell needed them, but Madison County scored a pair of insurance runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, Lodi’s Irene Miranda grounded to Ammons at short. Smith and Shelly Featherston both hit comebackers to the circle to end the game.
"Playing a good team like [Lodi], we came out with a lot of energy and we really looked good," Madison County coach Andy Gregg said.