Black Tornado romps at nationals

North Medford wielded a big stick Wednesday in claiming one of the top seeds following pool play at the 63-team 16U A Western Nationals softball tournament in Phoenix, Ariz.

The Black Tornado belted out 14 hits en route to a 13-1, five-inning victory over Prime Time Elite from La Puenta, Calif.

Later Wednesday, North Medford opened bracket play with an 8-0, five-inning triumph over the San Diego Chaos.

The Black Tornado (27-5) will return to the field at 7 a.m. today and, win or lose, will play again at 11 tonight. Out of concern for the heat in Arizona, tournament games are scheduled at 7 and 9 in the morning, and then not again until 7, 9 and 11 at night.

Against Prime Time Elite, the Black Tornado used back-to-back singles by Amanda Freitas and Hannah Leming and a throwing error to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

With the score tied 1-all in the third, Freitas doubled with one out, stole third and scored when the catcher's errant throw sailed into left field.

North Medford then blew the game wide open with six runs in the fourth. Kelsey Leming walked and was moved over on a single by Kelsie Bartley. McKenzie Re followed with an RBI single into right field and Shelly Walch walked to load the bases.

After a fielder's choice groundout nabbed Bartley at home, Freitas slapped an RBI single up the middle and Hannah Leming belted a three-run double to left field. Amanda Wolfe's RBI liner capped the scoring in the fourth.

The Black Tornado tacked on five more runs in the fifth, highlighted by a two-run double by Wolfe and an RBI single by Tejay Schmidt that also plated Wolfe after two throwing errors.

Lucy Baldovino improved to 9-2 on the mound, while Freitas was 4-for-4, Hannah Leming 3-for-3 with four RBIs, Amanda Wolfe 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Sierra Berryessa 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Schmidt was a force in the later game against San Diego Chaos, going 3-for-3 with four RBIs. Wolfe added a 2-for-2 effort that included two runs and one RBI, while Berryessa was 2-for-3 with one run and one RBI.

Bartley improved her pitching record to 18-3 with seven strikeouts in the five-inning game shortened by the mercy rule.

The Black Tornado's run thus far has been especially impressive considering the team is without the services of two of its top players in incoming North Medford High seniors Jenna Stevens and McKenna Storey.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail

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