By Jason Hanes
After its first loss of the tournament, Birmingham Thunderbolts Premier – 2027 Alford took advantage of a second chance at a victory, scoring three first inning runs en route to a 7-0 championship victory over Team NC – Newell in 12U at the Myrtle Beach Summer Nationals Sunday afternoon.
“This team has a lot of grit,” said head coach Fredrick Alford. “They’re solid and have a lot of fight. The three early runs were big.”
Playing as the visiting team in the decisive game, Birmingham Thunderbolts got an early lift from starting pitcher Taegan Lermann. With a runner on second and two out, Lermann doubled down the line in left to plate the first run of the game for her side. One batter later, Kennedy Cuthbert doubled home Lermann to make it 2-0. Milleigh Kate Byrd would then single home Cuthbert for the 3-0 lead.
“We couldn’t be low energy,” said Lermann. “We had to be high and we couldn’t give up.”
The three first inning runs would prove to be all Lermann would need in the circle. While she would give up seven walks, she would give up just three hits while striking out two in five-plus innings of work.
“It was great how positive everybody was,” said Lermann. “We were very energetic. I was trying to change things up with my pitches also.”
“[Taegan] was huge,” said coach Alford. “She did a great job using her offspeed and pitching with a lot of spin and movement.”
Jayde Palmer’s RBI single would make it 4-0 in the second inning. In the third, a single by Bryalee Alford would tack on another insurance run. The score rolled at 5-0 until the sixth, when a throwing error brought in a run, then Asher Thompson’s RBI single tacked on the seventh tally of the game.
Team NC – Newell forced the decisive game by winning 4-0 over the Thunderbolts in the previous contest. Holland Weisner delivered the biggest blow of the game when she pulled a home run down the line in left for a two-run shot.
However, the fourth game in a day proved to be too much for Team NC – Newell. While it would load the bases in the sixth and final inning due to the time limit, Morgan Maxwell would come in and would officially retire the three batters she faced in a row to deliver a championship to the Thunderbolts.
The Myrtle Beach Summer Nationals marks the end of the season for Birmingham Thunderbolts Premier – 2027 Alford. “They’ve matured a lot in the box and on defense,” coach Alford said. “They’ve made a lot of adjustments and a lot of changes just in development as a whole.”
“This has been a good way to end the season,” said Lermann.