The 16U Illinois Esprit select fastpitch softball team, featuring Highland High School incoming senior Addison Rinderer, reeeled off eight straight victories to capture the championship of the Firecracker Bash Tournament June 23-25 in Kirkwood, Mo.
During their 8-0 run to the tourney title, the Illinois Esprit scored 66 runs and allowed just three all weekend. The team beat Southern Illinois Sting 12-0, Jeffco Express 01 16-0, Mid Missouri Heat 3-2, Rebel’s Force 16-1, Hotshots 9-0 and the, the Black Widows-Bussman 8-0, and then defeated the Black Widows 2000 team 2-0 in the championship game.
Rinderer, who is a left-handed pitcher who also plays left field, has helped the Illinois Esprit sport an impressive 16-4 record this summer.
“I thought our team played really good this weekend. We played as a team and always jumped out early and got on top,” Rinderer said. “The first inning we would almost always get through the whole lineup so we were definitely on. Our coach always said if we keep winning the innings we will win the tourney and that’s what we did. It feels pretty good going to a tourney and winning and short-gaming every team.
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“They may not be the best competition we have seen but it makes us better and makes us work on things we need to work on so that way we are ready for those big games. It was a very good all around team performance.”
In addition to left field, Rinderer pitched two games in the tourney, including firing her second no-hitter in as many weekends in the dominant 16-0 shutout of Jeffco Express 01. Rinderer’s second start of the Firecracker Bash came in the championship game, where she out-dueled Black Widows 2000 ace and HHS teammate Kirsten Plocher in a 2-0 victory for the Illinois Esprit.
“I didn’t feel like I was on but I went or and got the job done,” she said. “In the championship game, I also pitched and it was the biggest and toughest game of the tourney. I pitched really good and felt really good. My hitting was also pretty good in the tournament.”