By Thomas Hoffman
ERIE, Colo. -- Josh Fisher and the Tennessee Mojo came ready to play in Colorado this week. Opening its Sparkler Junior Power Pool campaign with an impressive 6-0 win over OC Firecrackers, the Mojo continued its stellar play, moving past Glory Atkins Gold, 18-4.
“Everyone came to play today,” said head coach Josh Fisher “From the first person in the lineup to the last, everyone was ready to play.
We have players representing eight different states on this team. It makes it kind of hard to practice. Our pitching and defense were fantastic to start today. It just took a little bit to wake up the sticks.”
In the top of the first inning against Glory Atkins, leadoff hitter Jaydyn Goodwin picked up right where the team left off against the Firecrackers. Securing a single and a stolen base, Goodwin quickly put herself in scoring position as Keagan Rothrock came to the plate. Rothrock’s double scored Goodwin and ignited a four-run first inning for Mojo.
“Every time I step to the plate, I know no matter what I do that my teammates have my back,” explained Goodwin. “My coaches and teammates have a lot of confidence in me and it translated to what I was able to do at the plate.”
Goodwin finished the afternoon 5-5 with a double, three runs scored and two RBI.
Starting pitcher Emma Langston had the pressure taken off her shoulders as Tennessee piled up its early lead but the right-hander made certain a Glory Atkins comeback would be near impossible. Through four innings, Langston allowed just two runs and tallied three strikeouts.
“I couldn’t be more happy with how we pitched today,” Fisher said. “No matter what the score is, I wanted the girls to treat each inning like it was 0-0. Both pitchers did a great job of staying in the game and not losing focus.”
With Langston spinning it in the circle, Mojo went back to work on the offensive end in the second inning. Two home runs from Mia Williams and Taylor Pannell highlighted another large frame for Tennessee, scoring six more runs and extending its advantage, 10-0.
“She threw my kind of pitch, a little inside,” said Pannell. “I always do better with inside pitches so I tried to put a good swing on it.”
Mojo added another run in the third inning and waited until the fifth to explode for seven more. All 10 batters that Tennessee sent to the plate recorded at least one hit on Tuesday afternoon.
“Everyone on this team is really confident right now,” Pannell said. “Even if one of us had a bad day, we all have each other’s back or if we make a mistake, we all know we’ll pick each other up. It’s just a really positive environment to play in.”
Leading 18-2 in the fifth inning, coach Fisher turned the keys over to Taylor Hess to close out the contest. Despite surrendering two runs, Hess forced Atkins into a game-ending double play and more importantly, placing Mojo atop Power Pool B.
“We have a lot of goals this week but first and foremost is to make the TV bracket,” Fisher said. “We’re one more win from accomplishing that.”
Tennessee will have to wait until Wednesday afternoon for its final pool play matchup against Aces Express Futures. A win vaults Mojo into the top 14u Power Pool bracket with all eyes on the championship game, broadcasted by FloSoftball and set for Thursday night at the Aurora Sports Park.