By Adam Dunivan
THORNTON -- The Mountain West Fastpitch 18U softball team out of Utah is all about attitude at altitude. The team accustomed to playing at 4,300 feet above sea level had no problems adjusting to a "Mile High" altitude last year in the Colorado Sparkler, and so far they've been able to flex their muscles in the 2018 Colorado Fireworks 18 Power Pool Supplemental-Elite division.
On Wednesday afternoon at the Northern Lights fields, Mountain West sent 16 girls to the plate in the first inning of their CB Elite Pool Box Bracket winner's game against OC United-Nester, scored 11 runs and eventually rode that to a 14-6 victory that will send them to the upper tier of double-elimination play starting Friday morning at the Pioneer Park complex in Commerce City.
The team has turned over significantly in just one year, but the expectations are still very high for the rest of the week.
"We come to play, we come to compete and it's all about getting better every single play and every single at-bat, every single inning," said head coach Bryan Bull, whose team produced 15 hits in the win over OC United. "We are a team that's all about forgetting about mistakes and at the same time, if the other team makes mistakes we utilize it and jump on that. We've got a good group of girls."
After going 1-1 on Tuesday with 16 total runs scored, Wednesday's accomplishments by the offense were not at all a surprise to Kylie Baumert, who went 3-for-3 with three triples and five RBI in the second game.
Mountain West needed that hot start after squeaking past USA Athletics-Younger by a 5-2 count earlier in the morning, and it came by way of several solid base hits combined with a couple of uncharacteristic OC United errors.
Baumert was just getting started with her first inning triple at the spacious field they were playing on, and her teammates followed suit as every girl in the lineup eventually scored a run. Megan Bull, Sophia Stoddard, Brooklyn Anderson and Josie Larkin each had two hits in the five-inning, run-rule shortened affair.
"I think because most of us want to play on (in college), we just wanted to come here and get the job done and all want to be here, and that helps so much," Baumert said. "I think we all swing hard and we have a lot of speed, which helps on the base paths. We can turn singles into doubles, doubles into triples.
"Once I saw my hits go past (the outfielders), I pretty much knew I should be able to get a triple if I ran fast enough."
Despite the setback, OC United-Nester could find itself capable of making a nice run themselves starting Friday afternoon. The team entered the winner's game 3-0 mark with a pair of one-run wins, and even in their loss were able to find a spark in the middle innings with five runs produced between the third and fourth innings to cut the score to 12-6.