From getting dirty to batting around the order, the Finesse Fastpitch had everything rolling in an 11-1 win over Mercado Athletics in the Colorado Fireworks 16U Supplemental Pool.
Kathry Rex got things moving early for the Finesse with a two-run homerun in the first inning. Rex stepped to the plate two batters after Carley Barjaktarovick walked and sent the ball deep past the left field fence to give her team a 2-0 lead early.
In the circle for the Finesse was Gabi Salo — the team’s youngest member being from the class of 2020 — who threw a solid four innings of work, allowing four hits and one earned run. Salo was relieved to start the fifth by Emily Koperdak, who threw two scoreless innings allowing one hit.
“(Our pitchers) had their in-and-out curve ball, screw ball moving real well today,” Dan Bressler, Finesse head coach said. “We just kept that going and the changeup from our first pitcher was just outstanding. And they kept guessing on it so we were getting on the hands a lot so we got easy ground balls or popups.”
The defense behind the two pitchers did their part too, turning a double play off a bunt attempt in the second inning as the Athletics’ Berkeley Quinn overran second base and was tagged trying to dive back. Outfielder Jaiden Batyik made a diving catch in left field to save what would have been a double in the sixth.
“All day my defense has been making great plays,” Koperak said. “I knew I could trust them even if I missed a spot or anything but I was feeling loose and comfortable with everything.”
“It gives the coaches a lot of confidence,” Bressler added about the Finesse’s defensive performance. “But that was an outstanding play by Jaiden out in left field. And the shortstop (Carley Barjaktarovick) is so fast, she can cover so much ground … but they all got good jumps on the ball. I think they played really loose today. Yesterday we were a little tight, we won and lost, and in the last inning they totally just stayed loose today and did what they normally do.”
The Finesse got loose in the sixth inning when they piled on seven runs to extend their lead to 11-1. Starting from the five hitter the Finesse worked through the order, capitalizing off a few dropped balls by the Athletics, scoring seven runs off of five singles and a double. Six consecutive batters found their way around the bases in the inning.
“I thought they did a great job being patient at the plate,” Bressler said. “They dropped a few but they weren’t easy to get to, kind of on the run type catches and we did a great job of taking the extra base when we could.”
“It pumps everybody up,” Koperdak added about her team batting around the order in the sixth. “One person gets a hit, it’s kind of like an adrenaline rush for everybody. It just keeps the bats going because hitting is contagious.”
The Finesse turned 14 hits into 11 runs in the game while allowing just five hits and the lone run to walk away with the 11-1 win over Mercado Athletics.
“Our pitchers did a really good job of keeping people off the bases,” Aleak Marra, Finesse third baseman said. “And we worked really good today as a team to get on base and to bring the people in.”