By Adam Dunivan
COMMERCE CITY - Low and away, strikes all day.
That was the mantra for Texas Glory 18U-LA Naomi pitcher Macy Funderburk as she took to the circle against Arizona Hotshots-Delsante on Tuesday afternoon in the Power Pool bracket of the Triple Crown Colorado Fourth of July tournament.
And after a tournament opener at Pioneer Park that featured a six-run rally and a 14-11 win, the team needed a more smooth ride the second game of pool play.
Funderbuck delivered, and the offense rolled with two big innings in a 7-2 win.
“I was trusting my spins,” said Funderbuck, an uncommitted 2023 out of West Monroe High School in Louisiana. “At first (my pitching) started out a little rough, but then I just started throwing and had the confidence I needed. Everyone had my back, too.”
Head coach Ronnie Naomi praised Funderbuck’s ability to spin a ball, and for the most part the Hotshots had trouble connecting. Though the Hotshots spread out seven hits, the Texas Glory defense came through to limit big damage while Funderbuck also found the right pitches at the right time.
As an uncommitted student-athlete, Funderbuck knows the exposure of this 2021 version of the TCS July 4th tournament is something she wants to take advantage of.
“I love to trust my defense, that’s really all I can do,” Funderbuck said. “(The tournament) means a lot. It’s a lot of exposure, especially because of my age and the grade I’m going into. It just means a lot.”
After a close couple of first innings, Noami’s team put their foot on the gas pedal for five runs in the third inning. With 2021 Southeastern Louisiana commit Sarah Diaz (two hits, two stolen bases, two runs scored) and future college teammate Maddie Wilson (two walks, two runs scored) atop the order, the squad had baserunners for the bottom of the order to work around the diamond.
In the third, hits by Lauryn Packard, Michaela Doiron and Funderbuck and a bases-loaded walk from Elaina Kreamer forged the big inning.
“We had a great week of practice, and we did some things out of the box a little bit this week, but they took to it,” Naomi said. “I told them they balls are probably going to fly a bit but if we get base hits we’re probably going to win a lot of games. We don’t need the big hit, but the timely hit.”
The Hotshots dropped to 0-2 in pool play, but the team didn’t leave Ingram Field without some highlights. Notably, Adriana Armstrong came in to close the door in the third inning and threw three more scoreless frames.
The pool that both teams are part of include three 2-0 teams and three 0-2 teams after the first day. The California A’s-Gendro Premier and Lil Rebels RC out of Las Vegas also won two pool games.
“We got out to a lead (in the second game) and were able to rely on great pitching and great defense,” Naomi said.