PHOTO GALLERY: Lely’s Millar getting what she wants

Playing quality opponents to improve her team

The objective this summer for Jess Millar, Lely softball coach, is to have her team compete against quality teams to improve its own abilities.

Millar got what she wanted last weekend in the Ringor College Exposure Tournament in Sarasota.

Nearly 50 teams took part in the tourney, viewed by college coaches looking for future players to fill their rosters.

The Naples Bombers, made up primarily of Lely softball players, won three, lost two and tied one in the 18-and-under tournament. A pretty good result for a team that only has one player over 16.

One of the team’s losses came at the hands of the Tampa Mustangs, the eventual tournament winner. The Bombers were in the game for five innings, trailing just 2 to 1, but the Mustangs scored three more to win, 4-1.

However, the game Millar talked about most was the Bombers 7-6, extra-inning victory over the Florida Havoc. Tied 6-6 after seven innings, the teams played a Texas Tie-breaker, which means that each time up the hitting team starts with a person on second base, usually in scoring position.

But pitcher Lisa Feola and teammates played tough, not allowing a runner to score in two innings before scoring their own to win.

“The team fought hard in critical moments of the game,” Millar said. “Essentially we showed the ability to execute plays and produce runs. That win helped us in our growing process.”

The Bombers have already played more than 20 games this summer. They have played in two college exposure tournaments.

Millar is working on getting the team into the 16-and-under American Softball Association Tournament that begins Wednesday in Fort Myers.

“We’ve been doing pretty well, but we can do better,” Millar said. “Playing good competition gives us the challenge we need to correct our weaknesses, to come together as a team.”

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