WESTMINSTER, Colo. – Looking down the lineup of the 18u Lady Dukes Lamar roster, and the college commitments jump off the page at you. Arkansas. Florida. Duke. Ole Miss. Michigan. Texas. The list goes on and on. That talent was on full display on Wednesday night as the Lady Dukes knocked off the Lady Magic, 14-5, in the 18u Power Pool Championship game.
“The talent on this team is ridiculous,” Head Coach James Lamar said. “Like anything in life though, there are a lot of talented people in life. But the difference that sets apart the talent from the production is the work ethic and the commitment to excellence. It’s truly amazing to watch them get better and better every tournament. They are playing up to their potential and exceeding expectations.”
The Lady Dukes fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first inning but answered immediately back in the bottom of the inning with a pair of two-run homeruns from Aminah Vega and Julia Lassiter. Altogether, the Lady Dukes had six home runs in the game, a byproduct of the extra work that the team put in earlier in the week.
“We spent so much time prepping for this, we got into town on Saturday,” Lamar said. “We spent two days working at the fields and we paid some coaches to come in and work with us on Sunday. We had Steve Singleton from Texas come in and do a hitting clinic and Olivia Watkins from Boston College to work with our small ball and slapping. As you can see, it paid dividends. Our mental approach is just a lot better.”
After a pair of one-two-three innings in the second inning from both the Lady Magic and the Lady Dukes, the Lady Magic made it a one-run game in the top of the third inning with a solo homerun to make it 4-3, but once again, the Lady Dukes answered quickly. In the bottom of the third inning, Kiki Estrada got things started with a solo homerun, her first of two in the game, to make it 5-3. Nadia Barbary followed that up with a solo homerun of her own to make it 6-3, and then Atalyia Rijo got in on the action with a two-run homerun to right-center field to make it 8-3 and gain control of the game.
The Lady Dukes added three runs in the bottom of the 4th inning, with most of the damage coming from Jolyna Lamar, a 2025 commit, who laced a two-RBI double to make it 11-3. With their backs up against the wall, the Lady Magic scored on a pair of RBI singles to cut the deficit to 11-5, but Estrada ended the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with a three-run homerun.
“This win is great and all that, but it’s over now,” Lamar said. “The thing we need to focus on is we start back up on Friday. We need to get reset and refocused because we can’t be satisfied with the appetizer. This is the appetizer, and now we are ready to get that full course meal starting on Friday.”
The Lady Dukes return to action on Friday and will be looking to back up their dominant performance in the Power Pool bracket. One thing is for certain though, the team isn’t taking any of its time together for granted with this being the last summer that the team is together before all the players head off to their various colleges.
“It’s like watching your baby take their first step, that’s what it feels like to me as a coach,” Lamar said. “I want to send them off the right way. I look forward to seeing them play this time next year playing in the regionals and super regionals and college world series. For me this is a special moment. I can’t even quantify what it means to me to watch them go on to the next level.”