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Pictured is the Ohio Lasers Silver 01 team, featuring Connersville High School pitcher Jeri Ellis (back row, second from right). Ellis and the Lasers played in the 2018 PGF Southeastern Championship tournament in Nashville, Tenn. on July 17-21. The teamis posing withthe national runner-up trophy it earned at the tournament.
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Connersville's Jeri Ellis goes through her wind-up at the 2018 PFG Southeastern Championship tournament in Nashville, Tenn. in mid-July. Playing for the Ohio Lasers Silver 01 team, Ellis made three appearances in the tournament, winning all three games and finishing with a team-low ERA of 1.235. The Lasers finished second in the national tournament.
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Connersville's Jeri Ellis steps into the batter's box in a game at the 2018 PGF Southeastern Softball Championship tournament in Nashville, Tenn. Playing for the Ohio Lasers Silver 01, Ellis collected a pair of singles and a double for the team, who finished as national runners-up.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

Playing at the 2018 Premier Girls Fastpitch Southeastern Championship in Nashville, Tenn. last month, the Ohio Lasers Silver 01 team called Jeri Ellis to the pitcher's mound three times throughout its run to the national title game.

The Connersville High School softball player excelled in all three outings.

The Lasers wound up playing 10 games in the tournament, the run ending with a loss in the championship, as the team returned home as national tournament runners-up.

For Ellis, the tournament was one to remember, as the Connersville High School senior won all three of her contests, finishing with a team-low 1.235 ERA through her 17 innings of work. She allowed only three earned runs in her trio of starts, and limited opponents to four runs over all.

Falling in their tournament opener, 9-7 to AI Sparks Elite, the Ohio team followed up with a 7-2 victory over Browns Mill, leaving the team 1-1 in pool play.

Ellis got her first start in the tournament in the next game, the first round of bracket play, facing Ohio Storm.

Walking none, Ellis scattered nine hits and allowed only one run, leading the Lasers to a 2-1 victory.

Ellis and her teammates would heat up through their next two contests, easily beating the Firecrackers (5-0) before taking advantage of a 13-run second inning to defeat Indy Magic Knipp 14-1.

In that big inning, Ellis was hit by a pitch in her first at-bat — she batted twice in the frame — and came around to score. She hit into a fielder's choice in her next at-bat.

The game was called after three innings.

Following that victory, Ellis was called back to the mound, this time against a squad from Georgia, Easton Elite Speed.

Easton loaded the bases in the first inning with a pair of hits and an error, but failed to cross the plate in the frame. 

The Lasers were more successful in their half of the inning, plating three runners, on the way to a 6-3 victory.

On the hill, Ellis pitched five innings, scattered eight hits and allowed only two earned runs to cross the dish.

The win placed the Ohio team in another contest with Al Sparks Elite, the only team to defeat them to that point. The outcome in the rematch was the same as the first game, however, as A1 scored three times in the third to pull away with a 6-1 win.

Dropped into the losers bracket, Ellis and her teammates rebounded against the Firecrackers, this time beating the Georgia-based team by a score of 7-5.

That win placed the Lasers in the championship against none other than AI Sparks Elite.

Coming into the final, AI was unbeaten in bracket-play, meaning the Ohio squad would have to earn two wins over them to claim the national crown.

Ellis was tasked to get the first one.

Scoring three times in the first inning, the Lasers added eight more tallies in the game, giving Ellis all the support she would need, on the way to a lopsided 11-1 victory.

Ellis pitched the entire game, and surrendered no earned runs. She allowed only one walk in the contest.

With the win, the two teams took the field once more, this time with the national title on the line.

AI Sparks scored twice in the first inning, but by the end of the fourth, Ellis and the Lasers were on top 6-2.

In the top of the fifth and final inning, however, the representatives from Alabama managed to push six runs across to take an 8-6 lead. The Lasers would counter with one in the bottom of the frame, but would fall short in an 8-7 loss.

That defeat left the Lasers with a runner-up finish in the tournament, and concluded their summer campaign with a 44-11-1 record.

For the entire summer season, Ellis finished with a 17-4 record on the mound, registering an ERA of 3.103, and 43 strike outs.

At the plate, Ellis wound up with a batting average of .358.

Ellis will play for the Lasers, both in the fall and next summer, and will also suit up for the Connersville High School team in the spring of 2019.

The daughter of David and Deana Ellis has already verbally committed to play for Grace College, starting in the fall of 2019.