EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 25, 2013

Firebirds U14 lose at World Series, but still alive


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — The New England Firebirds 14U softballers lost yesterday, 9-6, at the World Series in Williamsburg, Va., but they’re not dead yet.

The Firebirds’ girls, based out of Ripp City Basball & Softball Academy in Bradford, went 2-1 in pool play on Monday and Tuesday.

After a convincing 12-0 win on Monday, the lost 9-1 to the Virginia Rage earlier in the day on Tuesday to finish 1-1 in pool play.

But the Firebirds bounced back later on Tuesday with a 9-8 win over the South Carolina Riptide, overcoming a 5-1 deficit through two innings.

But Jessica Licata, of Methuen, started off a thrilling six-run rally in the bottom of the third inning.

After the Riptide then went ahead again, 8-6, in the top of the fourth, Bryanna Michitson hit a bases-loaded double scoring two more runs, tying the game at 8-8.

Krystal Morales, of Lawrence, was the offensive player of the game with a homer and triple.

Morales also scored the game-winning run with an incredible head-first slide into home plate in the bottom of the fifth inning. Michaela Kane, of Haverhill, had another stellar game defensively, turning an unassisted double play to end the Riptide chance of scoring the go-ahead run and making spectacular plays at shortstop.

Jillian Aziz, of Plaistow, N.H., went the distance on the mound with a strong performance.

Yesterday, the Firebirds played their second game in the winners bracket against the Michigan Turnin 2 team. The Firebirds lost, 9-6,

“Our backs are against the wall at this point,” said Firebirds head coach Ed Aziz. “But we are OK with it. Our girls have come together all season long, when we weren’t considered contenders. And now we are playing in our first World Series with 40 of the best teams from around country.”

The Firebirds play today at 4 p.m.