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The Whitnall Rage U-16 Blue traveling softball team went 8-1 to capture a national championship in a tournament at Peoria, Illinois, last month.

The local squad, featuring six girls from Whitnall High School and four from Greenfield, won the United States Specialty Sports Association's Great Lakes championship July 19-23.

The girls from Whitnall, all incoming juniors or sophomores this fall, are Mackenzie Sutton, Haley Wynn, Emyli Kreiser, Rachel Rosenwald, Hannah Gueller and Lauren Gugliemi. The girls from Greenfield are Alyssa Vilkoski, Olivia Kelly, Hannah Ruffert and Regan Schultz.

Rounding out the roster were Leah Fynaardt from Catholic Memorial and Madelyn Cieczka from Cudahy.

The Rage actually lost its first tournament game, 7-1, to the St. Charles Angels (Illinois) but then bounced back to win two games in pool play and all six in bracket action.

"After that loss, the girls regrouped and realized where they were and what they were there for," head coach Eric Wynn said. "After that, we played good all-around team defense."

The team downed the Explosion (Missouri), 8-0, and the Oak Park Windmills (Illinois), 5-3, to finish 2-1 in pool play.

In bracket play, the Rage beat the Peoria Sluggers (Illinois), 6-0; the CS Thunder (Colorado), 7-0; the Lockport Prowl (Illinois), 3-0; and the Fox Valley Renegades (Illinois), 4-2.

The local group advanced to the semifinals, where it downed the Kishwaukee Valley Storm (Michigan), 2-1. The Rage then beat the same team, 5-0, in the championship game.

The Rage was led at the plate by Gugliemi, who batted .444; Sutton, who hit .368 with four runs batted in; Wynn, at .346 with four RBIs; Kelly, .308 with four RBIs; Schultz, .286; Vilkoski, .280 with seven RBIs; and Cieczka with seven RBIs.

Vilkoski paced the pitching staff, going 6-0 in 35 innings with an earned-run average of 0.25, 57 strikeouts and five walks. Wynn was 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA and 14 strikeouts in seven innings.

The Rage finished 22-8-2 for the summer, also taking second in the Premium Girls Fastpitch Battle of the Borders in mid-June and fourth in the USSSA state championship in late June.

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