The 2021 Rumble at the Roost was even better than last year as the tournament expanded from eight to 18 teams.
In the end, the Gobblers’ 10-and-under team captured the championship, with Ella Krohn pitching a perfect game for Aitkin while striking out all 12 batters she faced in the 2-0 victory.
The opposition had scored 34 runs in their first two games but Krohn was too much for them in the title game. Aitkin had reached the title game with a 3-1 semifinal win over Princeton.
Krohn and Natalie Shereck shared mound duties in that one. They showed some big bats in the tournament including in-the-park home runs by Krohn, Ada Samuelson and Shereck.
The tournament started with a pair of wins for the home teams – the Flying 14’s and the Flying 12’s. The 14’s beat Brainerd with Mia Koonce providing the pitching for the 14’s and that 4-1 win was highlighted by a great catch in center field by Tahlia Hasskamp.
The 12’s scored 10 runs and beat Pequot Lakes. Mylee Bourassa, Adah Williams, Natalie Stueven and Haley Shereck provided lots of offense in that win.
Saturday’s games were spread across all four fields starting at 9 a.m. The 14’s bracket was a tough one and was highlighted by some great pitching by Koonce and Sienna Melz and also had some great defense – including Ellie Hoppe making a catch in the outfield and doubling a runner off at first, and Madellyn Schneider running down a fly ball in left, firing a strike to Melz who threw out a runner trying to reach third.
The team ran into Bemidji Blaze in the semis and lost a tough 3-1 decision. The Flying 12’s also met a team from Bemidji in the semis and mustered just a hit by Taya Hawkins in the loss. Haley Shereck threw a great game, giving up just two runs but her opposition was even better.
“It was great to see so many teams,” said coach Austin Krohn. “We knew rain might be a problem so we condensed down to Friday and Saturday. The Aitkin Youth Fastpitch organization continues to grow and they work tirelessly to support a program for our young softball players.”
This year’s Rumble at the Roost was sponsored by the Aitkin Quarterbacks Club and Wild Craft Meats.
The 10-and-under group recently had another tournament victory, taking the title at the Bemidji Blaze Fastpitch Tournament. The group was 5-1 overall, beating Bemidji 4-2 in the finals.