By Kyle Koso
AURORA – Any chance to suit up is more than fine with the 14u Birmingham Thunderbolts-Kaplan.
And that even goes for Thursday at Aurora Sports Park, when soggy conditions threatened to take the fun out of the moment during the Colorado 4th of July TV game. Instead, the Thunderbolts put in quality at-bats and held up great defensively, polishing off an 8-0 victory over Firecrackers Weil 2024 in three-plus innings.
Rain ultimately scuttled the game, but spirits were high in the winner’s dugout. Saviya Morgan reached base in all three of her at-bats from the leadoff spot, priming the offense with her speed, and Bella Foran drove in two runs with a single in the top of the fourth. In the circle, Lilly Faye-McWorter allowed just a hit and a walk with four strikeouts in three innings.
“These kids never get rattled. They love being on the field together, and it’s like watching a bunch of kids doing what they love,” said head coach Justin Kaplan. “That’s one of the things I think is missing sometimes, where we focus too much on the next level, and we don’t enjoy where we are. You throw anything at them, and they love it.”
With two walks, two hits and an error, the Thunderbolts got off to a great start, and it took a remarkable effort from Firecrackers reliever Brianne Weiss to hold it to just two runs scored. Dailynn Motes led off the fourth with a double for the Thunderbolts, and they had poured six runs across when Motes came up again – that’s when the game was called.
“I just have to stay disciplined, watch a pitch go by, and when it’s my chance, do what I can to get a hit,” said Morgan, who Kaplan called one of the fastest players he’s seen. “We tried to keep cheering (in the bad weather), and if there’s a mistake we try to pick each other up.”
Faye-McWorter also seemed untroubled by the conditions.
“I was trying to keep the ball dry the whole time and hit my spots as best as I could with the rain going on,” she said. “The offense takes a lot of stress away because I know they are there for me. I can just go out there and throw strikes. We were all excited about this game and ready to do our best.”
“She threw fantastic. She has great composure, and you can never tell what’s going on in her head,” Kaplan said. “She did a great job.”
Ellie Partrick tripled in a run in the fourth.