The H&H Heat are one again piling up the victories in regional 12U diamond action.
One of the most successful teams on the travel softball scene in 2012, the H&H Heat are picking up right where they left off last summer.
Under the direction of coaches Lorie Schmalzle, Jeff Lesek and Troy Gregory, this squad is terrorizing opponents in regional 12U competition.
"This is just a great group of girls," Coach Lesek said. "They're a lot of fun to work with and they are very coachable.
"These girls have really good chemistry. They get along extremely well on and off the field. As a team, we hit well, pitch well and play very good defense."
Off & Running
The Heat opened their current campaign with a rough showing at a tournament in Drifton.
However, the local lasses wasted no time in bouncing back, going undefeated this past weekend en route to a tourney title in Tremont.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of players like Erin Worzel, Angelina Ioppola, Jami Lesek and Olivia Gregory, the Heat reeled off six consecutive wins to cop the crown.
"They played great," said Coach Lesek. "We had a couple of close games, but for the most part the girls kind of dominated."
All told, the Heat outscored their opposition by a margin of 40-12.
Next on the agenda for the girls from Hawley and Honesdale is a berth at the Summer Blast Invitational. That event is slated for the weekend of June 21-23 at Horseheads (NY).
By the Numbers
H&H began its latest tourney title quest Saturday with a razor-thin 2-1 win over the NEPA Wolfpack.
They followed that up with an 11-2 rout of the Pottsville Pride and an 11-0 shutout of the Lady Vipers.
On Sunday morning, the Pride earned a re-match by fighting their way out of the losers' bracket. However, their luck was no better in this one as the Heat rolled to an 8-4 triumph.
This win catapulted H&H into the semis for a date with the Power Elite. An all-star team from western PA, the elite put up a valiant fight, but came out on the short end of a 2-1 final.
After five straight wins, the Heat found themselves pitted against the PA Ball Hawks for the tournament championship.
Once again, the formula that earned them a spot in the title tilt proved perfect for the Heat. Dominant pitching, Gold Glove defense and timely hitting resulted in a 6-4 win.
"I'm very proud of the girls," Coach Lesek said. "We beat some very good teams in this tournament."
Lesek and Gregory form a potent 1-2 punch for H&H in the circle.
Jami is a fireballing 13-year-old righty who sports four devastating pitches.
"She moves the ball up & down, in & out," said Coach Lesek. "Jami is more of a power pitcher, but she has good control, too. She keeps batters off-balance."
Olivia is still just 12, but provides a perfect counter point to her teammate.
"The thing I like most about Olivia is that she throws strikes," Coach Lesek said. "She doesn't fool around out there. She pounds the strike zone."
Jami's best performance of the weekend came in the Heat's Game Three romp over the Lady Vipers.
Lesek utterly dominated this one, piling up an eye-popping total of 15 strikeouts on her way to a no-hitter. Just one measly walk stood between Jami and a perfect game.
"That's the best I've ever seen her pitch," said Coach Lesek. "She was just one fire. No one could touch Jami in that game."
Gregory was very nearly as impressive in Sunday's championship game.
Olivia drew the starting nod against PA Power Elite and pitched four stellar innings. She held a potent line-up in check before handing the ball off to Lesek for the final frames.
"Olivia did a great job," Coach Lesek said. "She was really focused and determined."
Ioppolo and Worzel delivered key plays all weekend long for H&H.
Angelina is a talented and versatile player who splits her time between first base and outfield. The 12-year-old phenom terrorized enemy pitchers from her #3 spot in the batting order.
Ioppolo smoked a pair of inside-the-park homers and also added a triple.
Erin earned high marks for her brilliant defensive play. A 13-year-old left fielder, Worzel made two SportsCenter-worthy catches that robbed opposition hitter of extra basehits.
She also flashed a cannon-like arm, gunning down one runner at third and one at the plate.