by Andy Hansen
Aurora, Colo. – Tulsa Elite 18A (9-2) captured the 2018 Colorado Fireworks 18 Open championship with a 15-7 victory over Finch’s Aces Premier – Spina (8-2) at the Aurora Sports Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Aces jumped to an early 7-0 lead after scoring two runs in the first and five runs in the second. Julia Loffredo scored on an RBI double by Gianna Colalillo and then it was Colalillo scoring off of Megan Hanily for the 2-0 lead.
Eilana Seminara blasted a home run to lead off in the second, and back-to-back singles by Kassidy Peterson and Rileigh Glynn and a Loffredo walk loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly by Colalillo scored Peterson and a Julia Martine double scored Glynn. Hanily would score two more runs on a hard-hit single. After midway through the first inning, the Aces led 7-0 and it appeared the game might be out of reach for the Tulsa Elite.
Not so fast. The Tulsa Elite responded and in a big way scoring seven runs of their own in the bottom half of the second.
“We had already played them earlier in the tournament and had scored a lot of runs on them then,” said lead-off hitter and Tyler JUCO commit Jazmine Dodd. “We were telling everybody in the dugout to calm down, we knew we could score runs off of them and we will come back.”
The comeback started with Mackenzie Goins who opened up with a double and teammate Hallie Harper would knock Goins in on an RBI single. The offensive onslaught continued with Heidi Bogle, Shandria Jackson and Jordan Hausher all scoring runs. Dodd blasted a two-run double as Tulsa Elite tied the game 7-7 after two.
“I told them that there was a lot of game left,” said Tulsa Elite head coach Roy Bogle. “We had six full innings to go and to get up and hit the ball like we know we can. They responded really well.”
A two-run bomb over the centerfield fence by Kaila Cartwright and a wild pitch scoring Harper would give Tulsa its first lead of the game 10-7 after the third inning. Cartwright would come in and relieve starting pitcher Jordan Hausher late in the second. From the third inning on, Cartwright would keep the Aces batters at bay, only allowing four hits and no runs.
Tulsa would tack on a run in the fourth with Goins scoring Dodd and four more in the sixth to put the team up eight and securing the championship.
“We were playing for each other today, we really wanted this,” said Dodd. “This was our third time playing here and we knew we had a really good shot at winning. It’s an honor for me and our organization to get the Tulsa Elite brand out there at a national event. For the seniors it was the last year for us in Colorado, and it is an honor for us to take home the championship.”
The two teams had met earlier in the week with Tulsa Elite prevailing 7-4 at Highline Park. The Elite, playing out of Sapulpa, OK, finished the Colorado Fireworks 9-2 and the Aces, from Flemington, NJ, went 8-2.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said Bogle. “To come to the pinnacle of softball and win it is very special to me and this program.”