by Savvy Rafkin
WESTMINSTER, Colo. – For some teams, participating in a national tournament requires traveling to another state. For those based in Colorado, making a showing at an elite event is as convenient as ever.
Finishing up pool play on Thursday afternoon, the PB Outlaws 18A split their games, finishing with an overall record of 1-3 heading into bracket play.
Thursday’s 7-6 win against NW Ambush 18A didn’t come easily for the team. After falling short by one run in the first game, it was time to turn up the heat. The lineup answered the call and put up three runs in the top of the first inning.
The advantage didn’t last long as the Ambush responded with four runs. Refusing to back down from the challenge, another two runs put the Outlaws ahead of their opponent for the final time and lock down their victory.
For the team, the best part about playing in the Triple Crown Sparkler isn’t just the competition. After facing elite rosters from out of state, each win provides a sense of state pride.
“You have to show out for your state,” Outlaws head coach Claude Vigil said. “It’s the biggest tournament in the country and you need to be able to do well for your home state. We’ve been talking to the girls for a while now, and they came out and played well this weekend.”
Though finishing with a losing record in pool play, Vigil acknowledges some difficulties the roster has had to overcome. At the start of the season, weather prevented the ability to play in several vital developmental tournaments.
“We didn’t have any tournaments at the beginning of the season because of the weather,” second baseman Nevaeh Martinez said. “We fell behind. All these teams have been around all season. It’s been hard.”
Heading into bracket play, the Outlaws are focusing on not putting too much pressure on themselves. As an 18U team with college ball on the horizon, creating memories can be just as vital as polishing skills.
“My main goal is to have fun with my teammates,” catcher Georgia Brooks said. “This is one of our last tournaments playing together with this team, all of us together.”
The Outlaws will have their bracket play debut on Friday afternoon at Pawlowski Fields.