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Seminole women, men team up to clinch NASA coed title

NASA Coed09
Seminoles outfielder Garrett Thomas catches a deep fly during a NASA coed division game Aug. 6 at Halpatiokee Regional Park in Stuart.

STUART — When Elton Shore organized a coed team for the Native American Sports Association (NASA) Softball Tournament, he knew he didn’t have to worry about the half-dozen women on the squad.

“All of them can hit. It doesn’t matter where you put them in the lineup,” Shore said. “And all the guys can hit, too.”

With an abundance of offensive power from the women and men, and from the left and right sides of the batter’s box, the Seminoles captured the NASA coed championship Aug. 6 at Halpatiokee Regional Park in Stuart.

Hoisting the championship trophy in the middle of field C didn’t come easy. The Seminoles won their first game of the five-team tournament, but a loss in the second game dropped them into the losers’ bracket in the double-elimination format.

The Seminoles staved off elimination in the finals of the losers’ bracket when Poarch Creek, with the winning run at second base and nobody out, didn’t score in an extra-inning tilt.

“I thought they were going to bring him in. We held them and got another inning,” Shore said.

Given another chance, the Seminoles pounced. Delaney Osceola scored the go-ahead run when Shore reached on an error. Amanda Julian drove in an insurance tally as the Seminoles advanced to the championship round with a 13-11 win.

As winners of the losers’ bracket, the Seminoles needed two wins against the undefeated Redskins from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

The first order of business was accomplished as left-hander Layton Thomas, who drilled balls over the fence throughout the tournament, smacked a three-run home run and Garrett Thomas had an inside-the-park three-run homer to spark the Seminoles to a 23-14 win. Layton Thomas and Richard Osceola also had two-run doubles and Emerson Billie had a two-run single.

In the winner-take-all finale, the Seminoles never trailed on their way to a 19-16 win against the Redskins. Mary Huff ignited the Seminoles at the plate and in the field. Her RBI double in the first inning brought home the game’s first run. While playing first base in the second inning, Huff stopped a deep grounder, sprinted to the bag and dove headfirst to record the out on a close play.

Huff drove in another run in the second on a single. Shore, Layton Thomas and Malaney Nickey also had RBIs in the inning.

Nickey faced plenty of familiar faces on the Choctaw side. She’s Choctaw, but she opted to play for the Seminoles when asked by her cousin Richard Osceola.

Osceola’s bases-loaded stand-up triple gave the Seminoles an 11-3 lead in the third inning.

The lead seemed to be comfortable when Shore belted a two-run double to make it 14-3 in the fourth, but the Choctaw clawed their way back and trimmed the deficit to two runs before Layton Thomas, Garrett Thomas, Shore and Delaney Osceola drove in runs to secure the title.

In addition to the trophy, every Seminole player received black NASA championship jackets.

Members of the championship squad included Emerson Billie, Mary Huff, Anthony Harjochee, Amanda Julian, Malaney Nickey, Delaney Osceola, Richard Osceola, Wendi Riley, Arla Shawnee, Elton Shore, Garrett Thomas, Layton Thomas and Marshall Tommie.

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Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at kevinjohnson@semtribe.com.
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