By Dan Mohrmann
COLORADO SPRINGS – The Diamond Fury coaching staff was tired of watching good pitches cross the plate. Heading into the bottom of the 3rd inning, they stressed that good pitches should be swung at.
The players received the message.
Bella Fails saw the perfect pitch and took a mean hack, sending it over the left field fence for a 3-run home run. That sparked a six-run third inning that lifted the Fury (Pearland, Tex) to an 8-3 win over Tulsa Elite in the Sparkler Juniors softball tournament at the Skyview Complex in Colorado Springs.
“I had one strike and then I saw my favorite pitch and I went for it,” Fails said. “Obviously it worked. It was great.”
Short of the 3-3 tie against Oklahoma Freedom, the Diamond Fury haven’t struggled to score runs in the Sparkler. They lead their pool with 33 runs scored and have shown a promising tendency to score runs at will. Fails led the team against Tulsa with three RBI’s, all of which came on one swing. She also scored twice to account for half the runs in the team’s win.
A win that was balanced with a solid pitching performance from Madelyn Guzman.
She didn’t give up a hit until the third inning and surrendered just two earned runs while striking out six hitters.
What made her so tough to hit was simply her command of her pitches. She retired the first three hitters she saw, and the first base runner got on via a passed ball on a dropped third strike. But as long as she was throwing the way she wanted and using her best pitches, she was always going to be tough to hit.
“My screw and my riser are my (top) pitches,” Guzman said. “Being focused helps me a lot as well as knowing I have my defense behind me.”
The Diamond Fury has big hopes of coming away from the holiday weekend with a championship win and coach Jayce Roundtree knows that a crucial component of the tournament win will rest on Guzman’s shoulders.
“We consider her one of the best pitchers in the state of Texas and the nation,” Roundtree said. “That’s why we ride her. She’s strong and she always gives us a great outing.”