Golden Girls 14U
The Norfolk Golden Girls won the 2020 Class B 14-and-under Northern Nationals tournament played July 30-Aug. 2 in Yankton. Pictured are assistant coach Jim Wichman (front row from left), Payton Schnoor, Miley Wichman, Addisyn Taake and Reilly Vrbsky. Head coach Andy Severance (back row from left), Brylee Severance, Lauren Darnall, Ava Borgman, Jessica Schmidt, Emerson Waldow, Kaia Kollmar, Makayla Mitchell, Henley Morris and assistant coach Jim Vrbsky. Not pictured: Adyson Mlnarik.

YANKTON — The future of Norfolk girls fast-pitch softball looks bright. Over the weekend, the Norfolk Golden Girls 14-and-under team, coached by Andy Severance, brought home gold medals and the championship trophy from the American Softball Association’s Northern National tournament here.

The Norfolk squad lost its first game in pool play and then reeled off seven straight wins to capture the tournament made up of teams from Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Severance, who coaches one of two Golden Girls 14-and-under teams, lauded his team’s ability to focus. “They executed every time they needed to. They hit the ball like you can’t believe. Our pitching staff was unbelievable all week.”

Over the four-day tournament, which ran from Thursday to Sunday, the Golden Girls outscored their opponents 63-13 and recorded 69 hits to their opponents’ 29.

The Golden Girls opened pool play with a 5-4 loss to Sioux Falls Nitro.

“We were a little bit flat the week before, so we changed our lineup a little bit, just to see what might come from it. It wasn’t good,” Severance said.

“Then we made some adjustments going into that second pool game and found a couple of spots in our lineup that worked real well and by the third pool game, we’d hit our stretch. We knew exactly what we were going to do the rest of the week and it just worked for us all week.”

The Golden Girls recorded shutouts in their next four games thanks to outstanding pitching and defense.

“Lauren Darnell and Mikayla Mitchell are our starting pitchers. Emerson Waldow filled in the middle innings, and Jessica Schmidt is someone we go to late,” Severance said.

Defensively, the team committed just seven errors in eight games. “They made defensive plays like an 18-year-old all-star team. They’re very unselfish, and there’s a lot of leadership within the team,” he said.

Offensively, the Norfolk squad hit .341 as a team. Miley Wichman set the pace with a batting average of .460. Other leading hitters included Henley Morris .402; Ava Borgman .397; Brylee Severence .394 and Kaia Kollmar .361.

The Golden Girls 14U team finished the coronavirus-shortened season with a record of 31-12-1 that included three tournament titles: a 16U tournament in Grand Island, the USSSA Class A 16U state tournament in Beatrice and the 14U Northern Nationals.

All of the girls on the team will be either freshmen or sophomores in high school this school year. “There are some very talented kids. Our high school programs should be very excited to have them,” Severance said.

Northern Nationals

Pool play

- Sioux Falls Nitro 5, Golden Girls 4

- Golden Girls 13, Farmington, Minn. 0

- Golden Girls 10, Madison (S.D.) Thunderstruck 0

Bracket play

- Golden Girls 7, Brookings (S.D.) Rebels 0

- Golden Girls 7, Sioux Falls Nitro 0

- Golden Girls 8, Sioux Falls Metro Select 1

- Golden Girls 3, River City Wolfpack, Bismarck, N.D. 2

- Golden Girls 11, Plover (Wis.) Nationals 5

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