In the long run, Monday’s games at Southeast Metro Park in Austin, Texas, don’t affect pool play standings or bracket seeding in Triple Crown’s USA Nationals. That doesn’t mean 16u Texas Glory-Naudin didn’t take it just as seriously, though.
After falling, 3-0, to the Louisville Lady Sluggers, Texas Glory bounced right back in its final game of the day, riding a hot offense to a 7-0 victory over the East Cobb Bullets.
“We came out a little flat today,” said coach Mary Stephens. “They definitely turned it around, though, starting to put pieces together. As our first tournament back from Colorado (Sparkler/Fireworks), it was important to adjust to the conditions. The ball certainly doesn’t fly as far here as it does in the elevation up there.”
Haley Morgan was among those able to make the quick transition to Austin’s starkly hot and humid climate. A single in the second inning put Morgan on the basepaths before utilizing her speed to steal both second and third base. Ultimately, Trinity Cannon produced the RBI with a grounder to third, giving Texas Glory the early lead, 1-0.
“That first time I came up, I just wanted to get us started,” said Morgan. “We were definitely flat coming out, and I knew that if I could get on and use my speed we could get something going. It was important after the first game to be the first ones to score in the second.”
With the Glory ahead for the first time on Monday, starting pitcher Karlie Charles wasn’t about to let it go anytime soon.
“I was able to hit the spots that I wanted today,” said Charles. “Keeping my changeup low forced hitters into either a pop-up or a ground ball and my defense did the rest behind me.”
Charles’ only spout of real trouble came in the opening frame. Runners stood on both second and third base with one out before Charles dialed up a flyout to center field followed by a big strikeout to keep the Bullets from scoring.
“Karlie was excellent for us today,” Stephens said. “We have four pitchers here this week and fully expect all of them to perform phenomenally.”
After back-to-back 1-2-3 innings, including two strikeouts, Stevens tabbed Jaycee Cook to protect the Glory’s lead.
Her team would come to her aid, however, providing a huge cushion in the fifth inning. Again, Morgan kicked off the inning with a single and a stolen base before Brady Rowland brought her home with an RBI single. Six singles in addition to a three-RBI triple from MJ Green plated six runs, giving Texas a commanding 7-0 lead.
“You could see the offense start to come alive,” said Stephens. “Early on, I kept hearing comments about how the ball might be different. We had to try to convince them to start hitting it hard on the ground, instead of trying to hit fly balls out of here.”
As time began ticking away, three outs were all the Glory needed to secure its first win of the day. Despite the Bullets posting runners on second and third base for the second time of the ballgame, the Glory navigated its way through the sticky situation as Cook fielded the final grounder to end the game.
“I think we needed to come back and win that second game so we could keep rolling into tomorrow,” said Morgan. “Even though we weren’t at our best today, we still got the win and we’ll be able to keep improving tomorrow and throughout the tournament.”
Texas Glory-Naudin begins its way through the 16u open division at TC/USA Nationals with an 8 a.m. matchup with Premier Fastpitch-Paulsen.
“I like our chances,” said Stephens. “If they come out with high energy and focus, I think we can make a good run in this tournament.”
Tags: Fastpitch, Softball, Triple Crown Fastpitch, Triple Crown Sports