The 007's win USSSA Gulf Coast national championship

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Front row (L to R): Brooke Romano and Whitney Hall. Standing (L to R): Dru Bantaa, Skylar Boyd, Alexis Clifton, Kameryn Adkins, Anna Jones, Alyssa Romano, Madison Mitchell, Olivia Reames and Bailey Karpinski.

The 007's Romano fast pitch squad captured its fourth national championship in Gulf Shores, Ala., knocking off the Elite Sox, 4-3, in the title game.

The Sevens needed two walkoff wins, and they had to hold on late for a one-run victory. They amassed eight wins to only one defeat.

Pitching was the key, and they set the tone early as Alyssa Romano (St Amant) tossed a perfect game in the opener, and Olivia Reames (St Joesph’s) continued the scoreless streak deep into game two. They combined to toss another shutout in game three.

Romano racked up six wins on the week, striking out 23 with only two walks.

Good pitching needs good defense, and the 007's got that, turning six double-plays—most coming from the combo of shortstop Alexis Clifton (Assumption) and second baseman Anna Jones (Dutchtown).

The outfield made play after play, running balls down, led by Bailey Karpinski (French Settlement), Dru Bantaa (Maurepas) and Kameryn Adkins (Brusly).

Third baseman Brooke Romano (St Amant/ LSUE commit) put on a show with her glove and bat, making several diving stops while throwing runners out from her knees and driving in 13 runs. She smashed a home run and three doubles.

Madison Mitchell (Dutchtown) put on a warrior-like performance, catching over 40 innings in 90-degree heat and helping her battery-mates with her flawless blocking and framing.

Whitney Hall (Dutchtown/BRCC) capped off her travel career with a solid first base and had her hand in several double-plays, including a snag of a line drive for a pivotal out.

Skylar Boyd (Dutchtown) played utility player all week, holding her own in the infield and outfield, as well as scoring the walkoff run to get the 007's to the championship game.

The semifinals saw the first of three matchups with the Elite Sox, and it didn't disappoint.

Alyssa Romano shut down the potent Sox offense for the first five innings, before the Sox turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead.

Down but not out, the Sevens went to work. Reames came in, in relief and got the Sox out in order, thanks to a home-run saving catch by Bantaa—who made the catch as she crashed into the fence.

Jones smashed a leadoff single to start the rally, followed by Alyssa Romano's double to put runners at second and third with no outs. Clifton roped a two-strike triple to right to pull the 007's within one at 4-3.

After an out, Brooke Romano laced a single to plate Clifton and tie the score. Adkins then beat out an infield single to move the winning run to second base for catcher Mitchell,who drove the first pitch up the middle to score Boyd for the walkoff win.

The Sox evened the series with the Sevens in an 8-1 win to set the stage for the winner-take-all championship.

Alyssa Romano got things started with a double to lead off the game and scored on Clifton’s double. A single by Reames moved Clifton to third, and Brooke Romano drove her in with a single for a quick 2-0 lead.

Alyssa Romano was again dominant in the circle and kept the Sox off the board until late.

The third inning was a near repeat of the first as multiple hits led to two more runs to increase the advantage to 4-0.

The Sox began to chip away, scoring two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to close the cap to 4-3.

Three outs away, Romano went back out to face the Sox’s potent two, three and four hitters. She induced a one-three putout on the speedy two-hole hitter, thanks to a nice squeeze of the throw by Hall, who held on after the runner crashed into her.

Romano then struck out the three-hole to bring her team one out away from a national title. After getting ahead In the count one-two, the cleanup hitter drove a change deep to left, but Karpinski made a running grab at the fence and the celebration was on.

The win gave the 007's its fourth national title and capped an impressive 55-6 season.

The 007's are led by head coach BJ Romano and assistant coach Patrick Jones.