By Kyle Koso
WESTMINSTER – After taking some flak and fending off a rally, the Texas Bombers might have wondered if there was still some wobble to cope with against the Lady Dukes on Wednesday afternoon.
But at the Colorado 4th of July 18u TV game, the Bombers regained all the positive rhythm that got the unit off to a good start, and before too long they had a 13-3 run-rule victory over the Lady Dukes in five innings at the Christopher Fields complex.
Mia Scott hit two home runs and drove in four runs; Baylea Brandon also homered, and Demi Elder punched in three more runs with a double as the Bombers won the Triple Crown TV game for the first tie in three tries. Starting pitcher Sophia Simpson escaped without too damage in the one troubling inning on the occasion, notching seven strikeouts.
After jumping ahead 8-0, the Bombers got a little sideways with each other on some fielding plays, opening the door for the Dukes (Cary, NC) in the bottom of the third inning. The inning ended on a tag play at home after a ball went to the backstop, and the three runs the Dukes plated would be it for the rest of the night.
“I thought we lost focus there defensively, stopped communicating and maybe got comfortable with that lead. We relaxed, and they put together some small stuff to force us to play defense, and we didn’t do a real good job,” said Bombers head coach Scott Smith. “Sophie settled in, got us some strikeouts. I told the group, this was significant because we were trying to do something for the first time.
“To do it the way we did, run-rule fashion … take that one inning out of it, I thought we played really well. Offensively, we were seeing it. We had a good plan and stick to it, and the scoreboard showed it at the end of the game.”
If Simpson (a University of Texas commit) was at all troubled by the third inning, it certainly didn’t last. She struck out the side in the fourth and rang up the next three batters after giving up a leadoff single in the fifth.
“My team did exactly what they can do; it’s expected, nothing new, and we should always hit like that. I should have done better, but it was a good game,” Simpson said. “I either think I can strike the next girl out with a changeup or rise ball, or I let my defense go to work because I know they have my back. Striking them out is something I feel I should do every time.”
Maci Bergeron (LSU) drive in two runs as the Bombers batted around and put up seven runs overall. In the fifth, Scott’s second home run built the lead out to 10 runs, also bringing home Elder (Texas Tech).
“I just go up there and try to see the ball well,” said Scott, also a Texas commit. “It felt good; I don’t really get excited, but it was great.”
For the Lady Dukes, Aminah Vega had three hits, including a home run, and Jalia Lassiter had two hits.
By Savvy Rafkin
ARVADA, Colo. – Don’t take your foot off the gas pedal.
That was the mindset that Aurora Lescody and Team Ohio Red 16U entered their final pool play game with on Wednesday night and the mindset they intend to carry into bracket play beginning on Thursday afternoon at the Colorado 4th of July tournament.
With three wins already under their belt and their hardest competition ahead, Team Ohio knew Mojo – Vickery was not an easy team to beat.
In a three-inning bout at Harold D. Lutz Sports Complex in Arvada, Mojo – Vickery dropped the game 18-0 in two and a half innings. Team Ohio jumped into action early, stacking six runs in the bottom of the first inning and riding the momentum into their 12 run second.
“We had this team circled in the beginning of our pool play because they’re one of the better teams here,” Team Ohio head coach Shawn Bray said. “Obviously they didn’t show that game, but we watched them in pool play yesterday and we knew they hit well. They were up for this game, they were prepared.”
Bray was pleased with the team’s performance. Suffering only one strikeout and executing twelve hits, two of which were home runs, is a display any coach would be proud of. Bray attributes the successful game to the hard work and focus of his players.
Even though Team Ohio is placed favorably in the standings, the team is focused on staying humble, mostly because the team chemistry hasn’t always been this dynamic.
“At the beginning of the season, our bats weren’t out as much,” Lescody said. “When we came to Colorado, it was like a click. We were all just coming back and snapping back as a team, and this is what happens. I think when we play a lot of games in Ohio, we play a lot of games and know the competition, so when we get a fresh start with girls we don’t know, we aren’t as nervous and we know we can beat of all of them.”
And even though Team Ohio will be walking into bracket play undefeated, not getting comfortable is the key to winning.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of good competition; we definitely cannot take our foot off the gas pedal,” Lescody added. “We have to keep going and we have to keep fighting. That team we just beat was one of the number one teams and they’re really good, so we need to keep going at it how we are.”
By Adam Dunivan
DENVER -- There wasn’t much that 18U Game Day Gold could do wrong on Wednesday afternoon at Waddell Park.
In fact, hardly anything or anybody got in the way as Annelise Garcia and her teammates outscored their two Pool F opponents, 33-4, in the 18U Sparkler Open division of the Colorado 4th of July tournament.
Behind the dish and at the plate, Garcia’s confidence was fully on display in an 18-3 victory over American Thunder Simons, and after the game the catcher did not hesitate to say she was just as confident in her younger club mates as she was in her own game.
“We had a lot of momentum from our games (Tuesday) … we finally found those holes and it all just came together,” Garcia, who graduated this past spring, said. “We had a good week before coming here to Colorado, so it was good to see the hard work pay off.
“I have a lot of trust in this team, especially on defense. We’re young, but I don’t think you can tell that when we get up to hit.”
By racking up 18 hits to beat the Thunder -- who had earlier made the Pool F winner’s game with a 9-3 victory -- the Game Day Gold lineup proved it was eager to swing at anything close to the zone. Yet, it also showed some patience in getting aboard via walk four additional times.
And there were some big hits, too. Garcia homered in her first at-bat and then tripled in her second one. Also with doubles in the game were Keira Cahalan, Isabella Lester and Kaydence Kinder, and Lainie McClintick and Kinder added to the team’s home run count in the fourth and fifth innings.
For Kinder, the performance at the plate was a source of pride after she was forced out of the batting lineup in the prior game due to injury.
“After that first at-bat, I felt really strong and just like, OK, I can get over this injury and be able to figure it out,” Kinder said. “You can see the confidence from everybody. It’s so cool to see everybody cheer for each other and also be proud of each other.”
Despite getting down big early in the game, American Thunder Simons did get some runs across the plate in the third and fifth innings. Dasia Triplett’s two-run double in the third frame was the highlight hit of the afternoon.
Both teams get back on the fields on Friday morning, with Game Day Gold entering the Mt. Elbert A bracket and American Thunder going to the Mt. Elbert D bracket.
By Savvy Rafkin
ARVADA, Colo. – While defense in softball is important, the better offensive team is almost always bound to take home the win.
And in the Wednesday afternoon 16U Sparkler Open Tournament game at Lutz Field in Arvada, the Suncats – Lopez 2022 and Impact Gold – 2023 Wright contest came down to the battle in the batter’s box.
Impact Gold (Canton, GA) was the first team to get on the board, sporting a single run in the top of the first inning, which would be the only time the team would hold the lead. Impact Gold ultimately fell to the Suncats 7-4.
Despite allowing one run in the first, the Suncats (Sacramento, CA) jumped on Impact Gold in the second inning and added four runs to their scorecard. And according to Suncats head coach Andy Lopez, a big offensive performance is nothing new for his team.
“We seem to start off pretty strong,” Lopez said. “They’re an aggressive team and we do our best to put the ball in play and put the bat on the ball.”
And putting the bat on the ball was an understatement for the Suncats. The team knocked four balls out of the park. Katie Marsh, Neva Adams, Avery Cordell, and Danyelle Leyone all left the game with a homer in their pocket.
Although passing the bat is essential in a ballgame, getting crucial outs is what keeps a team in the lead.
When Impact Gold hit their stride in the top of the sixth inning, the Suncats had to keep their defense tight to stay in the lead.
“We had a pretty good lead, and stayed pretty confident,” Marsh said. “We handled it pretty well. I was confident if we did give up those runs our hitters would be able to come back and make up for them, and we did.”
After taking home the victory over Impact Gold, the Suncats improved to 2-0 in pool play at Triple Crown's Colorado 4th of July event.
Miami Express 18U rallies from eight-run deficit to defeat NW Nitro Mace in 18 Sparkler Open pool play
By Adam Dunivan
DENVER - Judging by game scores from Tuesday alone, it was obvious both the Miami Express 18U and NW Nitro Fastpitch-Mace squads brought their heavy lumber to the Colorado 4th of July Sparkler Open tournament.
In the first three innings of their winner’s bracket matchup Wednesday at Waddell Park, there would be no slowing down. NW Nitro jumped out to an 8-0 lead after just one and a half innings, but Miami Express rallied to bat around in the bottom of the second and again in the bottom of the third, eventually leading to a 14-11 slugfest victory that put them at 3-1 overall this week.
NW Nitro tried to rally from a 12-8 deficit, too, but a legitimate inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the fifth for the Express’ Heather Arnett stole back any momentum Nitro had gained after cutting the score to 13-11.
“(The rally was great. We all just started with base hits and hard hits even in the infield and we just never gave up,” Arnett said. “I was a little worried at first, but I just knew if we started hitting, that we could do it. We’re a great hitting team and we can score runs when we need to.”
Both teams had scored 20-plus runs during Tuesday’s action, and while both squads had competitive wins to start Wednesday’s action, it was Nitro who surged to a big lead. Haylee Johnston hit a three-run homer in the first as part of a five-run inning, and the Oregon-based team scratched for three runs in the top of the second.
But Express was just getting started. Doubles from Alisen Pierson and Kete Ediger were the big hits of the bottom half of the second -- Ediger’s gap ball drove in two -- but Arnett also drove home a run in the frame and the team executed on the base paths to forge a six-run output.
The six-run third was even more impressive in that it all came with two outs. Izabella Zeller hit a two-run double, the next three batters reached base, and Ediger came through with another two-run double.
“Whenever I went to bat in those situations, I just told myself, you need to get a base hit, and that’s just what I tried to do, “Ediger said. ““I just think it shows we’re a great team and we compete no matter what.”
A home run from Nitro’s Abigail Carsley in the top of the fourth made it 12-9, but Zeller got that run back for her team by driving home Pierson on a sacrifice fly. After Nitro plated two runs in the fifth, Arnett hit a ball to the fence and flew around the bases, her pop-up slide at home met with a raucous cheer from her teammates.
“I was thinking (home run) … like, ‘I’m not stopping,’” Arnett said.
Zeller’s relief pitching was instrumental, but so too were a couple of stellar defensive plays from Braxton Stainbrook at third base. Stainbrook also reached base three times with two hits and a walk.