For head coach Mark Brown and his Vision Fastpitch Gold team, a healthy dose of offense combined with stellar pitching paved way to an all important 2-0 start in the 14u division at TC/USA Nationals.
Early Tuesday morning at Krieg Complex in Austin, Texas, Vision Gold dismantled a hefty Beverly Bandits team, 6-1. Nine hours later, Brown’s squad kept the fire going, cruising to victory, 7-1, over Firecrackers-Gale from Colorado.
“We’ve been playing really great defense and our pitchers have been shutting everything down,” Brown said. “Offensively, we’ve been able to jump on some pitchers and put a good amount of runs on the board.”
Vision wasted no time achieving that task. Leadoff hitter Piper Randolph jumped aboard first base with a single to right field and immediately stole second. Two batters later, with Randolph on third, Breigh Oliver brought her home, creating the first lead of the game for the away side, 1-0.
“Piper is the true leader of this team,” said teammate Paige Nunes. “She does a great job to hype us up and get ready to go.”
The Firecrackers responded quickly, though, stringing together a pair of base hits in the bottom half of the first inning to tie the game at one.
In the third inning, it was Randolph again providing the spark in the Vision offense. Though Randolph would ground out to the pitcher, her encouragement from the sidelines propelled her squad to three base hits and two walks. Oliver delivered in a moment of need for the second time in three innings as both she and Nunes notched RBI doubles, stretching the lead for the Texas natives, 3-1.
After her little hiccup in the opening frame, starting pitcher Kelsie Briggs gradually gained momentum throughout the contest. From the second inning on she was virtually unflappable and the defense behind her continued to play rock solid.
“I know I can pitch confidently with the defense I have behind me,” said Briggs. “When I know they’re doing their thing, I can focus on the things I can control. Today, I had a really nice curveball and change up.”
With Briggs spinning a gem in the circle, Vision’s offense went back to work looking for some insurance. Nunes took charge with another RBI single in the fifth inning. She would finish 2-4 with a double and three RBI on the afternoon.
“I just knew I needed to sacrifice myself in order for my teams to score runs,” said Nunes. “We needed to win this game and I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to help my team do that.”
Vision’s human spark plug Randolph kicked the seventh inning off with a walk. When the dust settled, three runs crossed the plate before Firecrackers could manage the third out.
Needing to close out her seventh inning, Briggs stepped to the rubber with confidence. A strikeout and two quick pop outs signaled Vision’s victory, 7-1, and also marked an incredibly impressive performance.
“Kelsie is one of those pitchers that’s going to battle, go out there and hit her spots.” said Brown. “She did a great job keeping them in check and going the full seven innings. We couldn’t have asked anything more from her.”
Vision Gold now earns an 8 a.m. duel with the Texas Dirt Divas on Wednesday morning at Krieg Complex. A third win in a row would go a long way in positioning Vision atop the single elimination bracket later in the week.
“You do not want to drop an early game at a tournament like this,” Brown said. “If you drop one early, you have to play a number of games to get back in it. It was really important for us to stay in the winner’s bracket.”
Tags: Austin Texas, TC Fastpitch, TC/USA Nationals, Texas, Triple Crown Sports