By Dan Mohrmann
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Two days after Fourth of July celebrations dwindled down in the Pikes Peak Region, 2006 Texas Glory RWB decided it was time for more fireworks. And the girls wasted no time in lighting them off.
A six-run first inning set the tone as Glory beat Texas Glory Adkins 14-3 to claim the 12u championship at the Sparkler Juniors Tournament at the Skyview Complex in Colorado Springs. The two teams are rivals in their home state, increasing the stakes for the championship game in each dugout.
“It was definitely intense,” RWB coach Ryan Hooker said. “Our girls were fired up. They’re a great team and we battle all the time. The last two times we got them but the time before that, they got us. There’s a lot of great kids on both sides.”
Adkins took an early 2-0 in the top of the first inning thanks to a two-run home run from Lucy Crowder. RWB was able to hold off any more damage before getting its first go-round at the plate.
With a runner on base in the bottom of the first, Emilee Prochaska took an aggressive hack at the ball and almost immediately after contact was made, her fist went into the air in celebration. Her two-run bomb tied the game and made RWB feel a little at ease after giving up those two runs in the top of the inning.
“We were (worried),” Prochaska said. “But I knew we would come back. We’re a fighting team.”
And that fight continued to show in the first inning. Lyndsey Hooker reached base on a walk and then Hallie Day firmly put momentum with RWB with a two-run blast of her own to make it a 4-2 game in the blink.
“It felt good,” Day said. “It was my first one (of my life) so I was very proud of myself. It adds a lot because this whole thing, we all earned it and it was a team effort.”
Taylor Roberts – the starting pitcher for RWB – added an RBI single to push the lead to 5-2 and force Adkins coach Ben Slade to make a pitching change. He placed Crowder on the mound in place of Kiersten Fincannon, but at that point it felt like there was nothing slowing down RWB.
Luciana Moreno scored on a wild pitch before Adkins was able to get out of the inning.
A fielding error by RWB in the top of the second inning allowed Samantha Garcia to score for Adkins, but that would be the final run to cross the plate for them.
RWB went right back to work in the bottom of the inning. They had scored two runs before Grace Weaver ripped a two-RBI double to the gap to push the lead to 10-3. Moreno and Roberts each drove in runs before Prochaska drove in her third run of the night with a ground-rule double to put RWB up 13-3. Another run made it a 14-3 game and Coach Hooker sent Sadie Beck out to pitch and close things out in the third.
A quick strike out and groundout put RWB on the verge of winning. One runner reached, but it wouldn’t be enough as one more groundout to short sent the RWB dugout into a frenzy.
“It’s huge,” Hooker. “These kids, anything we ever ask of them, they do it. They just keep fighting. Coming into the bracket we won three in a row then lost a tight one this morning and they just kept rallying. I just asked them to keep their composure and stay within themselves and they did. And now they’re Sparkler champs.”
Which just means more luggage to take on the way home. But in this case, there’s no problem finding room to store it for the drive back.