WESTMINSTER, Colo. - The 18U Fireworks Power Pool championship featured two teams known for their offensive fire power. Texas Glory and Louisville Lady Sluggers both were tested early by rough innings allowing their opponent to bat around and exchanging the lead on multiple occasions. In what became a mile high shootout by games end, it was Louisville prevailing as champions, 12-10, on Wednesday afternoon at Christopher Field Softball Complex.
"This is a marathon not a sprint," said Louisville head coach Jim Huecker of his teams resiliency. "We have already had some big wins in this tournament and the team has really jelled to the point where we know we can do some big things."
Louisville jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead in the top of the first after chasing Glory starter Maddie Boyd, who failed to record an out through five batters. The inning was capped off by Louisville starting pitcher Nijaree Canady's line drive double to left that plated two. By innings end, the Lady Sluggers sent twelve batters to the plate and recorded five hits.
"Sometimes when we score a bunch of runs we tend to get comfortable, but against the teams in this tournament you can't ever get comfortable," said Huecker of his team's hot start.
In the top of the third inning, it was Texas Glory's turn to bat around the order. Texas took advantage of an inning opening error at shortstop and followed it with six hits, capped off by a two-out two RBI single by right fielder Hailey Morgan cutting the lead to 6-5 and marking the end of the day for Canady on the mound.
The bottom half of the third brought more offense for Louisville, who tacked on another run to give the Lady Sluggers some cushion after an RBI double to left center off the bat of right fielder Pickle Winkler making the score 7-5.
That cushion did not last long, as Texas came out firing in the top of the fifth inning to take a 10-7 lead capped off by a three-run moon shot to left by shortstop Riley Love.
When the Lady Sluggers found themselves with the bases loaded in the bottom half of the inning, it was Glory relief pitcher Savannah Desrochers who came through with a pivotal strikeout to escape the threat.
Canady spearheaded the final rally in the bottom of the sixth with a mammoth shot to dead center to pull the Lady Sluggers within two runs making it 10-8. The hit parade continued three batters later when third basemen & Purdue commit Cora Bassett tattooed a three-run bomb over the left center wall putting Louisville back in charge for good, 12-10.
"One big swing by Nija there and we were right back in it and going," said coach Huecker.
"We have won three close games now (in the tournament) and I am super proud of the team right now," said Bassett. "We got a little cocky when we were up six runs early but at the end there we realized it was time for us to win this."
The 18U Power Pool Champions Lady Sluggers and runner-up Texas Glory will look to keep their hot bats and momentum going into the remainder of 18u Fireworks action.