In the brackets below the very top at TC/USA Nationals, there are still tough teams to play and satisfying memories to make.
But the first thing a team has to do is shake off the disappointment of not securing a spot in the Platinum Bracket, which went by the boards earlier Wednesday for the Texas Glory-Adkins 18u squad with a loss to the So Cal Athletics. As another toasty day at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock began to release its grip, the Glory sprung free and claimed a 5-0 victory over the Conklin (NY) Raiders to reach the Gold Bracket semifinals.
The Glory (ranked 27th in US Club Rankings) will take on the East Cobb Bullets-Biele on Thursday morning in Taylor for a berth in the Gold Bracket finals, versus either the No. 11 Texas Sudden Impact-Dutton or the No. 31 Vision-Poole.
Against the Raiders, a five-run jolt in the first inning proved to be the only scoring of the entire contest. Two-run singles from Georgia Capell and Abigail Stewart were the key blows, with Riley Cantrell bringing home another run with a sacrifice fly. In the circle, Glory pitcher Bailey Longoria escaped some early trouble and never flinched in posting her four-hit shutout.
However, none of that pleasure would have been enjoyed had the Glory not turned the page from their earlier setback.
“We were a little upset, but we came back and fought hard and played really well. We should do great in this bracket,” said Capell, who reached base three times and is headed to Tarleton State University in Texas. “I was just looking for a good pitch to hit; we wanted to get on the board and score some runs early. It’s been a good tournament so far, but we have one more day.”
Longoria enjoyed the early boost of offense, and she got another lift when her defense threw out a runner at home plate in the first inning. She did her part, allowing only two walks and not allowing a runner past second base in the final six frames.
“To know I had that early cushion and to know they always have my back … I’m not going out there scared. I had a couple to work with, and I got excited (about the out at home),” said Longoria, who is headed to Texas A&M-Kingsville. “We aren’t in the top bracket, but we can always win this one.”
“I told them, we’ll make the best of where we are. We have to play the way we are capable, and we had a game where we didn’t play to our capabilities,” said Glory coach Keith Allen. “We let one slip away. But (Capell and Stewart) are great hitters, they stay inside the ball and understand what it means to be productive. Sometimes, the first inning is all you get, and we made the most of that. They stayed calm, saw the ball deep in the zone and put good hits on the ball.
“Bailey kept the ball down and changed speeds. We really like what she does with the ball — it keeps us in games. We haven’t given up a lot of runs this week.”
Alexis Phillips had two hits for the Raiders, and Paige Rauch certainly pitched well enough to win after the first inning, allowing a hit and a walk in the next four innings.
Tags: College Recruiting, Softball, TC/USA Nationals, Triple Crown Fastpitch