Teams came from nearly every state in the country to Triple Crown’s Colorado 4th of July softball event last week, with satisfying memories of competition and camaraderie being tucked away by thousands of players, coaches and parents.
One team that definitely will keep 2021’s event close to their hearts is the 16u Alabama Thunderbolts, who raced through the Sparkler Open division with a 10-0 record, including a win in the title game of the Mount Elbert bracket. We reached out to Chris Sherman, team manager and recruiter, for some details on the team’s accomplishments in Colorado.
“Our expectations coming in were to win it; didn't know if we would be able to go 10-0 or not because we were not very familiar with a lot of the teams that were in our bracket,” he said. “But we definitely felt that if we played the way we are capable, we had a chance to have a lot of success. There were a lot of good teams in the open division. Our kids did a great job taking care of business. And we are thankful to Stephanie (Klaviter) and Triple Crown for the opportunity and a doing a great job hosting the event.”
There were a couple of hard-earned and stressful moments along the way; a 3-2 victory Saturday over the SoCal Athletics Mauga and a 5-2 win in Sunday’s semifinals versus Southern Force Premier-Warman.
“Our toughest game was Saturday versus SoCal Athletics Mauga. They were well-coached, played great defense and made us earn everything,” Sherman said. “They had us on the ropes, but our kids did a great job figuring out how to win a close game. We fell behind 2-1 in the top of the sixth after walking the No. 10 batter then giving up a single to allow them to jump on top 2-1. Ryley Harrison entered the game in the circle for us and picked up a strikeout for the first out.
"The Athletics tried to lay down a bunt, which Harrison fielded and tossed home for the second out of the inning; catcher Ansleigh Smith hosed the runner out trying to advance to second on the same play to end the ending. Taylor Hunt led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, Abbie Sherman moved her to second on a bunt followed by a single by Alana Spann to tie the game. Then Edy Gavin came up with a big walk-off single to give us a 3-2 win.”
Some notable names and stats for the Thunderbolts included:
* Opponents outscored 83-18. * Pitchers had a 1.25 ERA with 99 strikeouts. * At the plate, the team hit .401 with six doubles, 19 triples and 22 HRs. * Alana Spann (2023) with a .550 batting average, two doubles and six RBI. Edy Gavin (2023) had a monster week with a .487 batting average, seven HRs, two doubles, a triple and 13 RBI. Ryley Harrison (2023) led the way in the circle, with 32 IP, only 12 hits allowed, three earned runs, 66 Ks and a 0.65 ERA. At the plate she hit .360 with two HRs. Makaley Boswell (2023) hit .480 with four HRs, 12 RBI and nine runs scored, also pitched one scoreless inning while also playing SS, 3B and 2B. Caitlyn Gavin (2023) hit .360 with 3 HRs. Savannah Money (2023) added two HRs, Alayna Lowery (2022) hit two HRs and Ansleigh Smith (2024) added a one HR.