US Club Rankings, widely appreciated as the most valid and inclusive rankings platform in the sport, is assembled by using tournament finishes from all governing bodies, polls of coaches and college placement information. Here's a look at the 18u Top 10; you can see the entire breakdown HERE:
1) East Cobb Bullets – Schnute – Coach Greg Schnute
Congratulations to the EC Bullets and Greg Schnute for grabbing the US Club Rankings No. 1 spot for the 2018 FINAL National Rankings at 18 & Under! This legacy program has been a force for 22 years, steadily climbing the rankings and have reached the pinnacle from their efforts this season.
The EC Bullets have been making themselves known nationally since we began the US Club Rankings in 2012. They were often seen in the Top 10 during the Colorado 4th of July IDT event as well as PGF, the JO Cup and TC/USA Nationals. In 2016 they boasted their first “National Title” at the JO Cup in Southern California, then again hoisted a championship trophy at the 2018 TC/USA Nationals – that all led to a first place National Points System ranking, which is based upon on-field performance.
With a reputation for excellence on the field in the Southeast, the EC Bullets class of 2018 will be making an impact populating teams in the SEC and ACC conferences on rosters such as Florida, University of South Carolina and Duke. The 2019 class that will anchor the team will follow in the same fashion with commits to Mississippi State, Alabama, Tennessee, Notre Dame and national champion Florida State. This team will be casting a shadow in championship brackets for years to come.
2) Orange County Batbusters – Coach Mike Stith
The Orange County Batbusters have been around for over 30 years and is a recognized name across the nation. Gary Haning, founder of the organization, made a great choice in asking Mike Stith to carry on the legacy of the organization’s flagship team.
The Batbusters are no strangers to the top of the podium and took home the IDT Championship in 2018 and 2nd place at the PGF National Tournament. Former OC Batbusters can be seen throughout the country on college rosters such as Oklahoma, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and all the way to the East Coast at Florida. There is no shortage in talent in years to come as the 2020 and 2021 class is just as strong as the seniors leading the team next season. With a tradition so rich the OC Batbusters name will stay recognizable and even feared in 2019 and beyond.
3) So Cal Athletics – Coach Bruce Richardson
The So Cal Athletics – Richardson is rarely found outside the Top 5 in any national tournament; that has been reflected in the US Club Rankings as they were the No. 1 team in 2017 before dropping slightly in 2018. Since 2010 the So Cal Athletics have taken home the national title for PGF a record five times and continue to be a force when it counts.
You can see 2018 grads on rosters nationwide (Florida Gulf Coast, North Dakota State, Bryant University, Bucknell, West Point and UCLA), proving that teams can assemble great talent with chemistry and still get it done on the field even though they are not all power conference players. The class on deck in 2019 will lead their last summer before heading to Cal, LSU, Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford and Notre Dame to continue their careers. There is no doubt the legacy as a formidable opponent will continue wherever they go.
4) Corona Angels – Coach Marty Tyson
Ever present in the Top 10 are the Corona Angels – Tyson. Being considered the youngster organization compared to other So Cal staples, they have stayed in the hunt after being named the Top Team in 2015 and are still a force nationally. A 9th place finish at the IDT and 3rd at the PGF National tournament keeps them towards the top of the competitive field of teams.
Check out the big conferences all over the country to see Angels on the field, particularly at Louisville, Nebraska, Duke, Ohio State, Stanford, Wisconsin, Washington and UCLA. With the feeder teams, Marty Tyson will continue to see success on the field and compete for national titles every year.
5) Texas Bombers Gold – Coach Scott Smith
You can always find the Texas Bombers at the ballpark, usually toward the conclusion in the Top 25, and also from their unmistakable uniforms honoring the United States military. The Bombers try to embody a militaristic precision on the field and play the game with talent and respect. Their finishes at the Fireworks Power Pools (fifth) and TC/USA Nationals (second) took them from No. 8 last year to No. 5 in the blink of an eye.
The Bombers players have populated college rosters in and outside of Texas including Texas A&M, LSU, University of Houston, Auburn, Harvard, Northwestern and national champion Florida State. The 2019 and beyond grads are hoping to continue the tradition and the pursuit for the top spot in the nation before embarking on a college career.
6) Texas Glory – Coach Kevin Shelton
Another organization from the Lone Star State, the Texas Glory has been a fixture in the Top 10 and has for the second year in a row landed at No. 6. Each year, dominant finishes in the Fireworks Power Pool and a 2018 USA Elite Select title have led to their continued success.
Texas Glory players are landing on college rosters wherever you look. From Nebraska, Oklahoma, Louisiana Lafayette, LSU, Texas A&M to North Texas, Northwestern State and Harding, Glory players are impacting the rosters while bringing their winning tradition and hard work with them. They will continue to be a contender at a national level down the road.
7) Aces Express – Coach Dave McCorkle
With an organizational motto of “Attitude and Effort” it’s no wonder the Aces Express teams have been on the rise. With a club best 3rd place finish in the Fireworks Power Pools and another 3rd place finish in the TC/USA Nationals, Dave McCorkle has a Texas program worth watching. Making the jump from No. 9 to No. 7 embodies the word effort, and the respect for the game shows attitude is in fact controllable.
The 2019 roster is hungry to keep improving their standing, and most of them are finding homes in Texas for their college career. Texas A&M, Corpus Christi, Stephen F Austin and UT San Antonio to name a few will be gaining players who know what it is to work hard to help programs grow. “Attitude and Effort” remains not only a team motto but a statement worthy of future champions.
8) Georgia Impact Premier – Coach Patrick Lewis
New to the Top 10, the Georgia Impact Premier entered with a BANG, taking 2nd place at the IDT then following it up with a PGF Premier National title after taking 5th in the TC/USA Nationals in 2018. This team has put in the work in the past few years to get where they are today. With a great system of teams in the Georgia Impact organization, they have been able to put their stamp with a national powerhouse.
A few of the Patrick Lewis’ players will be gracing the ranks of the SEC including Alabama and LSU; most will stay in the Southeast to contribute to other college’s success like Georgia State, Kennesaw State, East Tennessee and Florida Gulf Coast. The 2019 class will be branching out even further with players headed to Michigan, Utah, Colorado State and some again staying closer to home to play at Georgia, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern. This may be the first time they broke into the Top 10, but with their winning tradition rolling, it will not be the last.
9) Firecrackers Brashear – Coach Sean Brashear
The Firecrackers name is no stranger to the Top 10, but Sean Brashear has blazed a trail to the No. 9 spot in spectacular fashion. Blowing through the competition at the Fireworks Power Pool (walking away with a championship) and making a run finishing 5th at PGF this team was just plain fun to watch. With what seems like a never-ending bench, the pitching staff was able to stay fresh and crisp during long events, and the hitters are relentless from top to bottom giving opponents no time to breathe. That is why the team made a huge jump from No. 23, leaving a lot of teams in the wake of their success.
Watch for the 2018 grads from Firecrackers Brashear at Fullerton and Stanford and the 2019 class close behind at Fullerton, Loyola Marymount, Illinois, Tennessee, CSUSN and Purdue. This up-and-coming team will be putting out more talent to college rosters in the future since Sean is grooming 16U, 14U and 12U teams with the same winning attitude.
10) Scrap Yard Internationals – Coaches Todd Leach and Connie May
It is not often teams combine to become stronger, but that is exactly what happened when Sudden Impact Gold and the Scrap Yard Dawgs merged to form the Scrap Yard Internationals for the 2018 season. Each team on its own was Top-20 level, but when they combined the talent of the players and coaching, it rattled the rankings. The team made a run at the Fireworks in the Power Pools for a 9th place finish then took home 3rd at the TC/USA Nationals to help grab a spot in our Top 10.
Their future is looking just as bright with players in the 2019, 2020 classes heading to Texas A&M, UT – Arlington, Seton Hall, Wisconsin, Texas, Nebraska, Louisiana Lafayette, LSU and Baylor. This Houston-based united front has a lot to look forward to with two organizations to feed the Scrap Yard Internationals team for a great run toward the top in the coming years.
There is BREAKING NEWS out of our Triple Crown fastpitch meetings as we hammer out the 2019 schedule!
We’re making it easy for teams and clubs to focus on mid-July, when we will run both the TC/USA Nationals and the Southeast Championships in north Atlanta from July 15-18, 2019.
TC/USA Nationals is an invite-only championship trek that draws superior 14u, 16u and 18u programs; our Southeast Championships has become a demanding regional event that will test your strategies and skills.
These events give you options! If your top squad is at TC/USA, consider bringing your other lineups to the Southeast event to be seen by college coaches already in town for TC/USA. Our professional staff and deep connections in the area give Southeast Championships teams a chance to experience the environment of the TC/USA tournament.
And if your team isn’t in TC/USA, sign up for the Southeast Championships! You can count on the competitive energy of the tournament to make the trip valuable and exciting!
Pencil in NOW and get your 2019 calendar in motion! We will be there with our professional staff, terrific field complexes and all the answers you need for lodging and away-from-the-diamond entertainment.
Contact: Carrie Rivera
Call/Text: (970) 672-0508
Jacksonville Storm stripped of TC/USA National championship; ScrapYard Internationals and Glory Adkins declared 16 Open champions
The 16u Jacksonville Storm Girls Fastpitch Softball team was stripped of its National Championship within two hours after completion of the TC/USA Nationals 16 Open championship game in Cumming, GA., on July 12. Triple Crown Sports was contacted by team representatives following completion of the game notifying that they had played two age ineligible players in the semis and then one in the championship game. Both were over the legal age to play in this age group.
The ScrapYard Internationals and Glory Adkins Gold of Texas will be declared the Triple Crown USA National Champions in 16 Open. All other teams will move up one spot. The Storm will receive last place.
Triple Crown CEO Keri King and Executive Director of Fastpitch at TC Elliott Finkelstein have handed down the following punitive course of action:
This year’s Champions are as follows:
East Cobb Bullets-Schnute: 18 Open Champions
ScrapYard International and Glory Adkins Gold: 16 Open Champions
So Cal Choppers-Faucett- 14 Open Champions
The Triple Crown USA Nationals is one of the most highly regarded season ending Championships with more than 60 percent of the Top 50 Clubs participating based on USClubRankings.com.
by Kyle Koso
If the East Cobb Bullets-Schnute 18's are looking for a nickname, they might want to consider the Boomerangs.
This is a team you'd expect to see return for more.
With a young roster featuring 14 players who will likely suit up next year, the Bullets wrapped up an impressive run in the TC/USA Nationals on Thursday, winning a tight, tense 18 Open semifinal before storming past the Texas Bombers Gold in the championship game, 20-8, at Fowler Park in Cumming, GA.
It's unusual to see a title game at this level finish with a run-rule, but the Bullets have that look of a squad that can blow past other's expectations. They took a four-run lead against the Bombers, then batted around the next two innings to drain away any drama, in comparison to their 5-4 win over the ScrapYard Internationals in the semis.
Kassidy Krupit (heading to Baylor this fall) had two doubles, two runs and four RBI for the Bullets; Neely Peterson (Colorado State), Anslee Finch (Troy University) and Madi Perry each had three RBI and Leea Hanks (Notre Dame) dazzled at the leadoff spot with three hits, three runs and two RBI.
"The (semifinal) showed that every little bit of effort we give, matters. That was a game that had us thinking, we don't want to be in that situation again," Krupit said. "Perseverance is a good word for us ... earlier in the tournament we were down 6-0 to the North Carolina Bandits, had an awful first inning, but we came back. Same as in the semis; they knocked in runs, we came back and got the W. We wanted to push through anything."
The Bombers did touch Alabama-bound pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl for several runs, but any lift from those moments was quickly undercut by another burst of Bullets offense.
"We were pretty hyped for the final. After the semi, we were upbeat, and we'd played the Bombers before so it was nothing new," said Perry, who reached base four times and is circling a new college option after a coaching change at Kennesaw State compelled her to start the process again. "You don't want to get up by that much and let the other team back in, but we were both hitting, and I think everyone was tired. I just go up there and try to swing at strikes, hit the ball and not think too much."
The Bullets scored six runs in the second inning, seven in the third and three more in the fourth; pitcher Kallie Turner (Tennessee) allowed one hit and struck out two in her inning of work that sealed the game after the top of the fifth.
"After playing so many games in a short period of time, pitching will be down a bit and hitting is something we continued to do. We can swing the bats, and I thought we did a good job doing that," said head coach Greg Schnute. "We are very young, with great young pitching, and they set the table for us. We hit it pretty good, and that's a huge advantage."
For the Bombers, Tori Whillock (Texas) had two hits, two runs and an RBI, the same stats line as Chloe Cobb (Texas Tech). Kayla Garcia (Texas A&M) added two hits and two RBI.
Desiree Smith threw a complete-game shutout as the So Cal Choppers - Fausett defeated the East Cobb Bullets - Biele/Heath, 3-0, to win the championship of the Triple Crown/USA Nationals 14 Open Division.
After dropping their first two games in pool play, the Choppers won eight games in a row to walk away with the championship. "This is just the kind of kids I've had all year," said Choppers head coach Gary Fausett. "They just play their hearts out. They are a good group of kids from good homes. They aren't troublemakers. They knew they didn't get the job done early but they came to me and told me not to worry, because they'd get the job done."
The Choppers started making noise in the second as they brought in three runs with one out thanks to some timely hitting and some wild base running. After back-to-back walks and a bloop single, the bases were loaded for Mia Franco. Franco roped a single to bring home Isabela Gurule with the first run and move the other runners up 60-feet. After an ECB pitching change, Sofia Morales got an RBI via a fielder's choice as the throw home to get Emma Bramson was late.
Then, things got crazy on the bases. A shallow fly ball was caught for the second out, but Hope Lusk's attempt to tag up from third was late. Lusk was chased back to third, but by the time she got there, Franco was already at the base. Franco started to head back to second, and the ECB throw went to second to get Franco. Meanwhile, Lusk raced home. The throw from second to the plate was in time, but the ball popped out of the glove on the swipe tag, allowing Lusk to score to make it 3-0.
"I thought (the left fielder) dropped the ball, so I ran because I thought I had a chance to score," Lusk said. "They had a pick move, so I slid back into third, and then when they threw down to second, I thought I had another chance to score, so I ran home."
That would be more than enough for Smith, in the quarterfinals, and she wanted to pitch again today. who felt the pressure ease off after the three runs came home. "It made it so much easier," Smith said of the runs. "I was already working hard to just try and hold the other team because I know they're really good. Those runs really helped a lot and really calmed me down."
"She's just amazing!" Lusk said of her starting pitcher. "She's just been doing so well. She's just a great pitcher and I'm so proud of her."
"She's special," Coach Fausett said of Smith. "She beat [East Cobb] in Colorado and she wanted to pitch again, and we let her. She's going to go up to 16's next year, and I'm going to miss her dearly."
Neither team would threaten to score the rest of the way, as both teams battled the heat and the solid pitching to scratch out hits. Halle Cannon of ECB tried to start a rally with a leadoff single in the sixth, but Smith would field her position to get a force out at second for the first out of the inning, with the side being retired soon after. Smith would retire ECB in order in the seventh, getting a fly out to end the contest and hand the Choppers the Championship.
"We got off to a rough start [in the tournament], but then we started playing like we usually do," Smith said. "We had a lot more energy after the first two games, and that really carried over."
by Kyle Koso
You just can't keep down ... the noisiest dugout in town.
The PA Chaos 14u National team hopped and skipped to their make-or-break assignment Wednesday afternoon, taking on the Miami Stingrays Red with the winner advancing to the single-elim championship bracket at the TC/USA Nationals in Cumming, GA. Bellowing support every minute from the dugout, the Chaos jumped ahead early and run-ruled the Stingrays in five innings, 9-1, at Central Park, where they will face the Texas Bombers Gold on Thursday morning.
Making the moment even sweeter for the Chaos was the fact the Stingrays had topped them by a healthy 12-5 score Tuesday. But in the rematch, the Chaos were a force from the start in taking a 4-0 lead.
"I knew I was excited to get the chance to come back from that game yesterday; it wasn't exactly the greatest end, and I knew we could do a lot better," said Brooke Ashenfelter, who had two hits, a stolen base and two RBI. "To show them what our team is really like ... that was a good opportunity. With our pitching, that kind of fueled the (defense), and when we were all doing good, we brought it back to the dugout to hit, and it kept going from there."
The pitching excellence came from the hand of Kendall Brown, who allowed two hits with no walks and four strikeouts. The Stingrays put just three balls out of the infield.
"I try not to overthink it; I wanted to go out and just try my best," said Brown, who also had three hits and ended the game with a triple that scored Ava Cohen and Sarah Harvat. "Our defense was way better this game and made so many great plays, and the hitting was on. I always have to go up to the plate with an empty mind and just react to the ball, not overdo it."
The Chaos loaded the bases in the first inning and scored the game's first run on a well-done suicide squeeze bunt from Shannon Harvey. Three RBI singles followed, off the bats of Ashenfelter, Brianna Lawson and Katelyn Carrier.
In the second inning, Harvey's long sacrifice fly brought in Harvat, and Lawson scored on a wild pitch in the third. The fourth inning featured a run from Harvey on a double by Ashenfelter.
"You always want that second chance and to play better the next time. The girls were relaxed, comfortable and confident, and from the first swing of the bat they were extremely impressive," said Chaos head coach Greg Harvey. "Kendall has been very consistent and kept us in every game. She has a terrific change of speeds and an incredible changeup that keeps batters off balance.
"It came down to hitting and defense, and our energy. It was a long day, and the question was could we continue it into the last game. The girls did a great job."
The Stingrays scored in the fourth inning, with Kaitlyn Hernandez coming home on a single from Cristina Pena.
by Kyle Koso
With a nail-biting loss still lingering in their memories, the NC Louisville Slugger-Eaton team wanted to chomp into a fresh opportunity to turn the tables.
That drove the squad to play with precision and purpose on Wednesday, taking down the Miami Stingrays Red by a 7-1 score to clinch a spot in the 14 Open single-elimination bracket at TC/USA Nationals in Cumming, GA. NC Louisville Slugger (which lost a 2-1 game to the Stingrays earlier this month at Colorado Sparkler Juniors) is one of eight teams left in the championship chase and will face the PA Strikers 14u team at 8 a.m. Thursday at Central Park.
While Slugger pitcher Olivia Cainey muzzled a Stingrays offense that had scored 36 runs in its previous four games, the team's offense staked her to an early lead and added useful insurance runs in the fourth and sixth innings. In sultry, steamy conditions at Central Park, Cainey delivered a gem.
"We really wanted to beat them because we lost to them in Colorado; we had the motivation," said Cainey, who allowed four hits in a complete-game effort with two walks and four strikeouts. "I'm just happy my team can hit that way, and that makes me pitch better. We're all about taking it one game at a time and seeing how it goes."
Emma Tisdale drove in the Slugger's first run on a single in the second that brought in Hailea Skeens. Leadoff hitter Atalyia Rijo tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly from Sylvia Burroughs in the third, and three runs came across in the fourth on a double from Tisdale and a two-run single from Kinsley Caldwell.
Rijo tripled again in the sixth and drove in two runs with two outs, in an inning that was extended when Macy Aikia legged out an infield single.
"I want to set the tone for the game and set a good example for my team," Rijo said. "I felt this game was one we needed to win, to show them we could do it. Olivia was hitting her spots and doing what she needed to do."
Stingrays leadoff hitter Brooke Rebhan singled to lead off the sixth and came home on a groundout from Cristina Pena to score the team's sole run.
"The girls were excited about this game, specifically, because of what happened in Colorado. That was an 8 a.m. game, and out bats were definitely not awake," said Slugger coach Nathan Eaton. "We come off a big win (Tuesday) night, and there's a lot of confidence right now. We felt good going into it.
"We try to press teams early; we have speed and we have a lot of weapons on the bench who can play anywhere. We like to use them to press the other team's defense as much as possible."
In the rest of the eight-team 14 Open single-elim bracket, SoCal Choppers Fausett will play Glory Adkins-Locke; Texas Bombers Gold faces PA Chaos Harvey; and East Cobb Bullets Biele/Heath face Impact Gold National Lang.
by Jason Hanes
Needing a win to stay alive in the tournament, Lady Lightning Gold Futures earned a big, 8-0 (6), win over Impact Gold National Lang to move into the championship bracket of the Triple Crown-USA Nationals 14U division at Sawnee Mountain Park in Cumming, Ga.
Both teams would threaten early, but the Lady Lightning scored all the runs it would need in the third inning. After a double by Maggie Knight and a single by Heather Vaughn, a two-run single by Michele Tarpey scored both runners to make it 2-0. Tarpey would be thrown out trying to stretch her single into a double, but the Lady Lightning weren't finished. After MaKenna Raye Dark was hit by a pitch and MaKayla Marbury doubled to the fence in left, a two-run bloop single by Trinity Nichols doubled the lead to 4-0.
"We had a few nice line drives, led by Maggie Knight," said Lady Lightning coach John Garner. "We had some good hits to follow that, but those line drives really help."
Lightning starting pitcher Lauren Wiles kept Impact Gold at bay, helping her own cause on defense in the top of the fourth as she snared a liner to start a double play and end the inning.
In the fifth, the Lady Lightning put the game out of reach. With the bases loaded and two out, Knight ripped a double to the fence in right-center to make it 7-0. "I had been struggling earlier in the day, but I just slowed everything down and let everything happen," Knight said.
One inning later, with a runner on third, an error allowed the game-ending run to score as the Lady Lightning moved on with an 8-0 victory.
"I feel like this year is going really well for us," Knight said. "Tomorrow, I'm just looking forward to all the competition and to go out and win."
The win moves the Lady Lightning Gold Futures into the championship bracket to take on the East Cobb Bullets - Biele/Heath at Central Park in Cumming at 8 a.m. Thursday.
by Jason Hanes
Texas Bombers Gold used a four-run fifth inning to take control as they defeated PA Strikers National-Mizuno, 5-2, to advance to Championship Bracket play in the 14 Open division of the Triple Crown-USA Nationals in Cumming, Ga.
The Strikers struck first as a double to left-center by Briana Peck scored a runner from second to make it 1-0. The Bombers mounted a threat in the bottom of the third thanks to a pair of singles, but Strikers starter Acelynn Sellers won a nine pitch at-bat with a strikeout, then got a line out to second to end the Bombers' threat.
The Bombers started some two-out trouble in the fourth as Delanie Loya singled to left. After seeing eight pitches, Emma Humplik served the ninth pitch into the gap in left-center, with her double scoring Loya to tie the game at 1-1.
In the fifth, the Bombers used their speed at the start of the inning to create pressure as Mihyia Davis, Isa Torres, and Kramer Eschete each laid down bunt singles to load the bases. Kelsie Kelso then blooped a single to shallow center to plate Davis with the go-ahead run. After a wild pitch scored Torries and moved the other runners up 60-feet, a pitching change ended Sellers' day in the circle. While Peck would quickly record two outs in relief, a two-run single by Loya would plate the two runners and give the Bombers a 5-1 lead.
"We've depended on the long ball so much the past couple of days, but they played us so far back that we had to tell our kids to shorten up at the plate," said Bombers coach Jessica Rogers. "Our slappers came up big, and once we got them on, we just needed one big hit to get them over."
"It was really important for me to get on base," said Davis of her leadoff single. "I know we've got big hitters behind me, so I know my job is to get on base so they can get me in."
In the seventh, the Strikers wouldn't go quietly as a single by Twaddell and a double by Smith put two runners in scoring position with one out. Morgan Farthing's grounder to short was kicked, but a quick recovery allowed for a tag of the runner at second for the second out with a run scoring. One batter later, Miles would get a ground out to end the game and give the Bombers the win.
The win moves the Texas Bombers into the Championship Bracket against PA Chaos National-Harvey Thursday morning at 8 a.m. at Central Park in Cumming.
by Kyle Koso
Reaching the end of Tuesday's play at the TC/USA Nationals with a 6-0 record overall is certainly fine with the 14u Glory Adkins-Locke (GA) squad.
But head coach Steve Locke is still grasping for answers on some important issues.
The Glory moved into the finals of their double-elim bracket Tuesday with a 5-2 victory over the Texas Sudden Impact 04, giving up the only two runs they've allowed from the start, but the sight of his roster coming up dry on two separate bases-loaded, no-out opportunities dimmed the sparkle of that unbeaten record.
Fortunately, the Glory played superior defense in spots and got solid pitching, with starter Chayse Eldridge going three innings and reliever Alyssa Bedenbaugh excelling in her four innings of work.
"It's very frustrating to see that they were loaded with my 3-4-5 hitters up, and they are all hitting .400 or more this week. Our pitching has been dominant," said Locke, whose team will face the East Cobb Bullets Biele/Heath on Wednesday in hopes of winning outright their spot to the single-elim final bracket. "The offense has struggled; we're facing great pitching, and we accept it ... those teams practice and are trying hard, too. But it's situational hitting ... I told them, just hit two pop flys and we have four more runs.
"You need to do the little things, because it's only going to get harder. I look like a coach who is 0-6, not 6-0, but I know what we need to do. We're good enough to overcome mistakes, and I expect our pitching will continue and we can make a run at this thing."
The Glory scored all five runs in the second inning, with doubles from Emma Davis and Meadow Villar doing damage. Villar drove in Nadia Barbary (a verbal commit to Mississippi State), and Eldridge singled in Villar; Avery Locke came home on a single from leadoff hitter Kailyn Jones. Davis doubled, and Anyce Harvey closed the burst by singling in Davis.
Davis and Jones each had three hits, with Davis loading the bases in the fourth on a perfectly executed bunt, one made tougher since she had fouled off a bunt attempt on an earlier pitch.
"It's difficult, especially after fouling the first ball off, because they know it's coming. You just work it to your advantage, and using the dirt as well," Davis said. "This game could have gone smoother, but we did work well in staying up and not getting down on ourselves. After this game, we are hoping for better results, but we are having a good tournament."
One of the other treats for the Glory was watching Bedenbaugh field her position in the pitching circle. She gloved everything that came her way and made a startling athletic play for the second out of the ninth inning, fielding a dribbler up the first base line and leap-tossing the ball to first in time to catch a very speedy runner.
She also was cool in the dugout, not getting agitated when the offense stumbled.
"I just keep cheering them on. I trust them, and I know they'll get hits, so I trust the defense behind me as well," she said. "We stayed positive; the coaches were frustrated, but we kept backing each other up. I play third base a lot, so after I throw the ball I just treat it like I'm playing third. Our pitchers are doing good, the defense is backing everything up, the hitting is getting us leads ... I think we can win this thing."
"She's the most athletic pitcher I've seen, and she's the most athletic third base I've ever seen," Locke added. "Her lower body is so strong and she's so fast ... she has a Division-I release, hard and accurate."
The Glory beat the EC Bullets Biele/Heath team on Monday, 1-0.