The Essex 11- and 12-year-old softball team finished its play in the Eastern Regional Tournament in Bristol, Conn. this week.
Essex finished the tournament with a 1-3 record, as they went up against the best teams in the northeast.
“Going down to Bristol was an incredible experience, which I am sure the girls will remember forever,” said Essex manager Jim Svarczkopf. “Some other coaches said their teams play over 90 games between middle school, travel teams and little league, which is a lot more than the 30 games we might get in. The disparity of experience is challenging to overcome.”
Essex played three of the tournament’s first eight games to kick things off.
They started with a tour of ESPN studios followed by a practice, dinner, opening ceremonies and ended the day with their first game under the lights against the host Connecticut team.
Connecticut came away with a 17-3 victory. Maddie Reed led the offense with a two-run double in the game.
Essex had a quick turnaround with an early afternoon game the next day against Maine. After going ahead 2-0, Essex ended up falling to Maine 10-2 behind a seven-run fourth inning.
Reed and Kirsten Appenzeller scored the two runs in the game for Essex.
Essex was back in action on Sunday when they took on Massachusetts. It was another tough one for the team from Vermont, as they fell 10-1 in the game.
Abi Johnson scored on a ground out by Logan Pollard for the team’s lone run.
“We had a tough schedule to deal with,” said Svarczkopf. “We had three games in before a lot of team even played their second. The girls were tired, but they battled right to the end of every game.”
With a day off on Monday, Essex found the win column with a big win over New Hampshire on Tuesday. Essex scored early and often on its way to a 16-3 victory.
Maddie Catella led off the game with a home run to center field. Johnson, Rachel Yandow and Jamie Morin also scored in the inning to give Essex the early 4-0 lead.
They tallied three more runs in the second with Abbey Gleason, Logan Pollard and Grace Wiggett all scoring.
Johnson and Catella scored a run in the top of the third to take a big 9-1 lead. They scored seven more runs in the final two innings with big hits from Jamie Morin, Kristy Svarczkopf, Gleason, Appenzeller and Yandow.
Gleason and Appenzeller split the duties in the game with each pitching three innings. Appenzeller got the win without giving up an earned run with seven strikeouts, while Gleason struck out five.
“It was a great time just being down in the tournament and we all had a lot of fun,” said Svarczkopf. “We learned a lot and came back with many ideas to help the future of Essex softball.”