The North Ottawa Youth Softball Association (NOYSA) Major Little League All-Star team is just two wins away from winning the state little league title and taking a step closer to a spot in the Little League of America World Series.
The NOYSA squad won its quarterfinal game in the state tournament on Sunday in Essexville, beating West Portage, 6-3.
With the win, the NOYSA team advanced into today’s semifinal round against Rogers City at 3 p.m.
The state championship game will take place Tuesday.
“We’re two games away from representing Michigan in the Little League World Series,” said coach Kolbey Nelson. “If we win (Monday) and Tuesday, then this coming weekend, we would travel to Indianapolis to play in the regional tournament.
“That tournament would conclude the following Thursday, and the winner of that goes on to Oregon to play in the official Little League of America World Series.”
The NOYSA team qualified for the state tournament by winning a district event on July 3.
The state event began this past Thursday with pool play. NOYSA defeated Beaverton, 4-3, on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh inning. Kelly Olthof came across to score the winning run.
More heroics were in store for Olthof on Thursday as she again scored the winning run, this time in the bottom of the sixth inning in a 4-3 win over the host team of Essexville.
That guaranteed the NOYSA All-Stars a trip to the playoff round, despite the fact that they dropped their third pool play game, 7-2, to Edwardsburg.
In Sunday’s quarterfinal contest, the team rode the hot arm of pitcher Leah Vaughan to victory. She threw a complete game, striking out seven and walking just one.
Kileah Rymal provided some offensive heroics from the No. 9 spot in the lineup as she had three hits and scored twice.
Lauren Hellman also reached base three times and scored a pair of runs, while Olthof continued her hot play with a double, a single, two runs and some outstanding defense at first base.
Nelson said the state tournament has been a wonderful experience for the girls and their families.
“The great thing about Little League is, you only play one game a day, so we’ve been up here finding things to do to kill time until our next game,” Nelson said. “It’s been quite an experience. The girls are bonding a lot.”