2022 held at Hall of Fame Stadium Complex in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on August 20-21.
Champion – Team 24/S&S Landscaping, Little Rock, Arkansas
Runner Up – Smash It Sports/Derby Girls/LaClear/Easton, Kent, Washington
An action-packed Saturday at the Softball Capital of the World® saw two teams battle between the lines in final pursuit of the 2022 USA Softball Women’s Open National Championship title as Team 24/S&S Landscaping came out on top. Ending the day with a 19-18 eight-inning victory over Smash It Sports/Derby Girls/LaClear/Easton, Team 24 proved superior – forcing an if-game and staging a comeback in the final two innings to claim the coveted National Championship title.
Kicking off the tournament with a 12-8 win over La Famigila, Smash It Sports combined for 17 hits in their first game of the day while Mandy Hollman led the squad with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate and Megan Baltzell contributed with a leadoff home run in the fourth to extend the lead and propel her team to victory. Continuing to dominate, Smash It Sports tallied 21 runs on 25 hits in its next win over On Point. With four base hits in the contest, Fiana Finau lit the spark with two singles in the first inning and two doubles later in the game to stay hot and keep the foot on the gas as Smash It Sports claimed the 21-14 victory. In its third game of the day, Smash It Sports met Team 24 in a tight defensive battle in which Smash It Sports came out on top in the low-scoring, 10-6 win. Two home runs and five RBI from Baltzell allowed Smash It Sports to get ahead early and hold onto its lead through seven innings as they sealed the victory and earned a spot in the Championship contest.
Fueled by a 14-run second inning, Team 24 came out swinging in its opening contest with a 19-0 (four innings) run-rule victory over Comfort Systems/Taola’a Fireballs. The win came in result of the squad’s ability to string hits together combined with a solid defensive performance led by Stacey Moore in the circle. Starting off its next game quiet on offense, Team 24’s bats were stifled against Smash It Sports in the 6 p.m. contest. With only six runs off 13 hits, Team 24’s first loss of the day sent them to the loser’s bracket where they matched up against La Famiglia in an effort to fight their way to the title game. Another low-scoring, defensive battle, Team 24 fell behind early in the game but managed to rack up six runs in the fifth to pull ahead and claim the 7-5 victory to advance to the Championship contest.
Entering the Championship contest with the goal of forcing an “if-necessary” game against Smash It Sports, Team 24 took on the challenge with no hesitation. Both teams plated a run in the first inning before Smash It Sports pulled ahead in the second, but a three-run third inning from both teams would keep Smash It Sports in the lead. Getting down to business, Team 24 outscored Smash It Sports in each of the next four innings to record the 19-9 win to force the if-necessary game.
With the National Championship title on the line, the final contest of the tournament did not disappoint as each team scored in the double-digits while also totaling over 20 hits apiece. The game got off to an explosive start as three singles, a double and a triple from Smash It Sports tallied five runs while Team 24 answered back with two triples, two singles and two walks of its own to put six runs on the board and give them the edge after one inning of play. An RBI single from Megan Higginbotham in the top of the second tied the game for Smash It Sports, but it didn’t stay that way for long as the Team 24 offense erupted with seven hits and six runs to double its lead going into the third.
Only one run scored the following inning as Team 24 tacked on another to its lead but Smash It Sports did not stay quiet as its offense came to life in the fourth with a handful of base hits to narrow the deficit, 13-10. Continuing to apply the pressure, a one-out single from Chelsea Showers followed by a triple from Hunter Clark and an RBI single from Sara Poteat extended the Team 24 lead before both offenses fell silent in the fifth inning. A solo home run from Finau in the top of the sixth gave Smash It Sports a spark, but a strikeout quickly ended the at-bat. Remaining consistent at the plate, Team 24 scratched two additional runs in the bottom of the frame thanks to a leadoff triple off the bat of Amber Parrish followed by a sac fly from Jamie Novus and three consecutive singles as the inning continued.
Down to its final three outs, Smash It Sports had its eyes set on a comeback. Starting the inning strong with three singles to load the bases, a fielding miscue and a sac fly scored all three runners to cut the lead, 17-14. A ground out would bring Team 24 within one out of the victory but Smash It Sports did not go down without a fight as another three singles loaded the bases once again and set the stage for Finau to blast her second home run of the night – this time a grand slam – to take the lead. Down for the first time all game, Team 24 dug deep, managing a triple and a single in the bottom of the frame to tie the game and send it into extras. A quick top half retired Smash It Sports in order as Showers stepped up to the plate for Team 24 in the bottom of the eighth. Reaching base three times in the game thus far, Showers found her groove and stuck with it – sending the third pitch she saw over the left field fence to walk-off the game and clinch the 2022 USA Softball Women’s Open Slow Pitch National Championship title for Team 24/S&S Landscaping.
Compiling a record of 3-2 throughout the tournament, Smash It Sports totaled 92 hits in five games while scoring a high of 70 runs. The squad tallied six home runs as well as 27 doubles while three players led the team with a batting average above .600 (Higginbotham – .684; Tara Licuanan- .625; Hollman – .611). A remarkable two-way player for Smash It Sports, Licuanan led the team from the circle while pitching all 35 innings – recording five strikeouts and allowing a low of eight walks.
A 4-1 record through the double-elimination day earned Team 24 the Championship title after falling into the loser’s bracket and battling its way back to the final run. Speed on the base paths allowed the team to leg out eight triples and 19 doubles, adding to the total hit count of 93 while also scoring 70 runs throughout the day. Meagan Pearson led Team 24 with a .684 batting average followed by impressive outings from Clark (.625) and Chelsea (.600). Moore and Randi Pauly split time in the circle, limiting their opponents to 68 hits and 42 runs through five games played.
With an overall outstanding performance through the tournament, Team 24’s Pearson earned the Most-Valuable-Player (MVP) title while she and Higginbotham from Smash It Sports shared the Batting Champion title – each compiling a .684 batting average. Also representing Smash It Sports, Baltzell was selected as the Home Run Champion while recording the highest number of home runs with four on the day.
Nine members of the U.S. Women’s Slow Pitch National Team (WSPNT) took part in the Championship game with Megan Baltzell, Kristen Connell, Fiana Finau, Megan Higginbotham, Mandy Hollman, Tara Licuanan and Kelly Park representing Smash It Sports while Team 24 included Amber Parrish and Dara Toman. The USA Softball Women’s Futures team was also accounted for as six members took the field in the final contest with Bethany Brown playing for Smash It Sports and Hunter Clark, Shayna Finley, Stacey Moore, Randi Pauly and Meagan Pearson taking home the trophy with Team 24.
- MVP – Meagan Pearson, Team 24/S&S Landscaping
- Batting Champion – Meagan Pearson, Team 24/S&S Landscaping – .684
- Batting Champion – Megan Higginbotham, Smash It Sports/Derby Girls/LaClear/Easton – .684
- HR Champion – Megan Baltzell, Smash It Sports/Derby Girls/LaClear/Easton – 4
2022 ASA OPEN ALL AMERICANS
P – Tara Licuanan (Smash It Sports/Derby Girls/LaClear/Easton)
IF – Kristen Connell (Smash It Sports/Derby Girls/LaClear/Easton)
IF – Mandy Hollman (Smash It Sports/Derby Girls/LaClear/Easton)
IF – Amber Parrish (Team 24/S&S Landscaping)
IF – Caitlin Stoner (La Famiglia)
IF – Dara Toman (Team 24/S&S Landscaping)
OF – Hunter Clark (Team 24/S&S Landscaping)
OF – Sara Poteat (Team 24/S&S Landscaping)
OF – Rubie Richie (Smash It Sports/Derby Girls/LaClear/Easton)
OF – Adrianna Saders (La Famiglia)
UTIL – Megan Higginbotham (Smash It Sports/Derby Girls/LaClear/Easton)
UTIL – Jamie Novus (Team 24/S&S Landscaping)
UTIL – Randi Pauly (Team 24/S&S Landscaping)
UTIL – Alyssa Schreiner (La Famiglia)
UTIL – Chelsea Showers (Team 24/S&S Landscaping)
1. Team 24/S&S Landscaping, Little Rock, AR (4-1)
2. Smash It Sports/Derby Girls/LaClear/Easton, Kent, WA (3-2)
3. LaFamiglia, Cocoa, FL (2-2)
4. On Point, Urbandale, IA (0-2)
5t. Comfort Systems/T’s Fireballs, Harris, MN (0-2)