OC Batbusters White Hudson offense hits on all cylinders in 14U National Power Pool championship win over Impact Gold 2K9
By Courtney Oakes
AURORA, Colo. -- Ten out of 10 softball players agree, a ball hit hard in Colorado definitely goes farther.
Lindsay Hudson agreed with that sentiment and the No. 9 hitter for a potent OC Batbusters White Hudson team is grateful for that bit of physics.
Hudson homered in the second inning and came up a triple short of the cycle as part of a 16-hit attack as the Batbusters topped the Impact Gold 2K9 National 11-5 in the 14U National Power Pool championship game of the Colorado 4th of July event at the Aurora Sports Park on Sunday.
“This Colorado air definitely hits different than California air,” said Hudson, whose big fly came in the second inning as she added a double in the fourth inning and RBI single in the fifth.
“(The home run) felt pretty good and definitely made me smile. It made me think of my mom back home watching on Gamechanger.”
Mom — and those fans in attendance to watch the Anaheim, California-based program — got plenty to get excited about with the performance of the Batbusters, who went 3-0 on the final day and finished 9-1 on the tournament.
A dangerous offense had a lot to do with the success, as coach Toby Hudson’s team averaged nearly nine runs per contest. It exceeded that in the victory over the Impact.
It was on display immediately, as the Batbusters notched four runs in the opening inning against standout starter Macie Bryant of the Impact. A two-run single by Lianna Ferrara and a two-run home run by Gianna Garcia put runs on the board, while two of the three outs came via deep fly balls.
It was just a preview of the rest of the game, in which eight of the 10 players who got at least one at-bat had a base hit, seven different players scored runs and Lindsay Hudson, Garcia, Ferrera, Madelyn Armendariz and Piper Kawanaka each drove in two runs.
“This team has been hitting the whole tournament, it’s been amazing,” Toby Hudson said. “We’ve hit lots of home runs, scored a lot of runs. I’m super proud of everybody.”
A four-run fifth inning included Kawanaka’s pinch-hit two-run single and run-scoring hits by Hudson and Reagan Beck. All that meant a lot to starting pitcher Kylee Jepson, who knew she didn’t have to be perfect.
“The insurance runs really helped,” said Jepson, who limited the damage despite allowing 12 hits. “It made me feel really special because I didn’t have to go out and be stressed or nervous. My team really helped with that.”
Jepson did a solid job holding down an Impact team that could swing it as well. They made it to the championship game with a dramatic semifinal win that ended in walk-off fashion on a home run by Celestina Daniels.
Jepson pitched a complete game and did so without recording a single strikeout. After ceding two runs in the bottom of the first, she allowed just three more runs in the ensuing six frames with help from her defense.
A diving stop and throw out from third baseman Kylie Tafua to end the fifth inning snuffed out a potential rally and were among the strong plays made in the field.
“I try to throw strikes and get ahead and just try to help my defense out,” Jepson said.
Added Hudson: “Kylee worked hard and kept grinding. That’s what she does.”
Coach Jared Bryant’s Impact team did get two run-scoring hits from Torie Turner as well as a two-run home run in the fourth inning off the bat of Amariee Bradford, who hit the first pitch she saw over the fence after a double by teammate Izzy Lawrence.
A triple in the sixth inning by Kierstyn Lambeth, who scored on Turner’s single, accounted for the last run for the Impact.
The win capped an interesting week for the Batbusters, who didn’t have a game for two days in the middle of the tournament because of weather interruptions.
It didn’t slow them, however, as they won three times Saturday and three times Sunday, starting with a 9-6 win over Iowa Premier 14U National, which had blanked them 4-0 four days earlier in their lone defeat. The Batbusters then held off a different Impact team (Gold National Mendoza) 7-6 in the semifinals in a game that ended with a batter tagged out at home plate.
“It’s been a great weekend, even without getting to play for two days,” Toby Hudson said. “It was a hard fought battle and these girls worked their tails off. I’m super proud of them.”
There was no rest — yet — for the Batbusters, who after getting the tournament trophy and packing up their equipment had to rush off to the airport to head home after the game went longer than expected.
“This was great, but now we have a flight in about an hour,” Lindsay Hudson said.