The Tennessee Fury '95 youth fastpitch team finished fourth over the weekend in the Amateur Softball Association 18-under Gold tournament in Clearwater, Fla. It marked the highest finish in an ASA Gold tournament for any team from the Fury organization, which was created in 2006.
The Fury was 9-2 for the week with their losses coming to the teams that finished second and third in the tournament. The Atlanta Vipers Giles were the champions.
"We hit the ball really well," Fury coach Tad Andrus said. "We had a lot of clutch hits. We played small ball a lot. We made some teams make some mistakes. That speed, you bring it every day. A lot of teams don't know how to handle playing against that kind of game.
"We had great pitching and we also got a lot of the breaks we needed. That's kind of what you have to have to make it through a bracket like that."
Local players on the Tennessee Fury '95 team are Haley Andrus, Emily Boyd, Bayli Cruse, Shaliyah Geathers, Noelle Winkles and Brook Womack.
"Several of these kids I've had since they were 10 or 12 years old," Coach Andrus said. "I've watched them grow up. Now they're ready to go off to college. We stubbed our toe year before last and last year and finished seventh. Finishing fourth we get a berth in next year's tournament. But, half of my kids are going to college so I don't know what I'm going to do."
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.