Top of the order warms up.
It was one of those weekends. Everyone has had them, and they’re referred to as, “A Grind.” But the 12U Rivals softball group continued to move forward through that grind that saw two brutal days of softball fighting off some illness, injury, rain, lightening, searing heat and some darn good softball from all over the front range.
When the final dust cleared the Rivals had to settle for fourth as they lost a tied semifinals game in the bottom of the fourth inning, 9-4 to finally be eliminated three games in on Sunday by the Northeastern Gold 12U team.
Saturday saw four brutal games for the Rivals 12U softball team that consists of all Eads players with an additional player from Wiley and Kit Carson. Their particular pool contained the top three teams in the tournament.
The Rivals 12U started strong against a weaker Wild 12U team and came away with an 18-5 victory. But, although they had a strong game they lost in the bottom of the fourth inning to the eventual champions, the Regulators, 6-4. After that loss, still on Saturday they competed well and won their third game of the day 7-1 against the Velocity 12U team. But, then in the nightcap of Saturday’s pool play they ran out of steam and blew a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning to lose to the Northeastern Gold 12U, 10-9.
Sunday’s play began at 8:00 am sharp and the Rivals 12U dodged a huge bullet as they started out very slow getting behind 8-5 against the Grand Junction Mavs 12U. Luckily, their offense continued to produce enough to creep in with the 11-10 win. That was a turning point for the Rivals as they then won the tournament quarterfinals round, with no rest between, over the Rocky Mountain Thunder 12U, 10-2.
Again, they did not get to rest and went straight into their third game of the day, seventh of the tournament, in the semifinals where a very tight game saw teams knitted after each of the first three innings. The Rivals grabbed the 4-3 advantage but could not hold off the offensive deluge from the Northeastern Gold 12 losing the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, 9-4.
Despite the up-and-down performances and another third-place finish in a very big tournament, the Rivals 12U probably learned more about themselves in this tournament than any other as they were forced to dig deep into their reserves in order to stay alive and compete at a much higher level than they were used to.
In their first game of the tournament on Saturday they defeated the Wild 12U in a big score of 18-5. They would only scatter 7 hits around the field, but 14 batters would walk in the contest. The Rivals put in innings of 6 runs in the bottom of the first and 12 runs in the bottom of the second to secure the win.
The highlight of the game was a grand slam homerun to the centerfield fence by Reese Barnett who had 5 RBIs in the game. Aspen Nelson also had a dinger bringing home 3 Rivals for her efforts. Lacie Kraft added a triple and 2 RBIs.
Hits came from Mila Macias with two and one hit apiece for Barnett, Jordynn Turcotte, Kraft, Peyton Eder and Nelson. Emma Wollert walked three times and scored 3 runs. Macias also scored three runs. Turcotte, Mia Crowy, Eder and Aubrey Mitchek all added two runs apiece.
Stolen bases came from Wollert with three. Macias, Kraft, Crow and Turcotte each had two thefts apiece. Eder and Elizabeth Kent each added one more each.
Barnett got the win in the circle going 2.1 innings, giving up no hits and no runs, walked 2 batters and struck out four. Turcotte came in relief for .2 innings and gave up one hit and 5 runs walking 6 batters.
The Rivals faced off next against the best team in the tournament and would challenge the Regulators 12U after getting behind 5-2 in the first inning. Macias was in the circle for the Rivals starting out shaky and not getting much help from her defense who struggled with the short game and good hitting by the Regulators.
The Rivals scored two in the first inning when Barnett hit a single to left field with two outs and was hit home off a Turcotte home run.
Trailing throughout the game the Rivals slowly came back in getting a run in the top of the second and another in the top of the third trailing just 5-4.
In the top of the second it looks like the Rivals were about to explode getting three-for-three aboard to start the at-bat when Mia Crow singled, Peyton Eder singled and Nelson walked. But then a base-running error made the first out and the next two batter both went down looking.
Another base-running mistake in the top of the second slowed down the Rivals attack as they were set to have a big scoring inning but came away with just one run. Wollert started them out with a single. Macias came up and hit a ground ball to centerfield getting a triple, but Wollert was nailed at the plate trying to come home. Questionable call, but nevertheless the call.
Barnett hit a single that brought in Macias, but the four and five batters went down on two good defensive plays.
Macias would take the loss in the circle working through three complete innings and giving up 9 hits, 6 earned runs, 3 walks and 2 strike outs.
The next game was played in the rain as the Rivals started their third back-to-back-to-back game scoring 4 runs in the top of the first inning and holding off the Velocity 12U through three innings after they scored one in the bottom of the first inning.
Barnett threw a beauty of a game getting her second win of the tournament in the circle by going four innings, giving up 2 hits, 1 earned run, walked 5 but struck out 9 batters.
The Rivals scored their four runs in the top of the fourth when Wollert started them off with a single to center field. Macias then singled down the third base line and Wollert hustled her way to a run after the third baseman made an error trying to get Macias. Barnett scored Macias from third base grouding out to second base. But Turcotte then came up and tripled to left field. With two outs Mia Crow came to the plate and during her at-bat Turcotte would score on a passed ball.
With one out in the top of the third inning Barnett would single to left field and get to third on a throwing error. Turcotte advanced to first and then second on a dropped third strike and throwing error. On that play Barnett scored.
The Rivals had one more game to go on Saturday and it was a fourth back-to-back contest. The tired Rivals gave it their all but came away with a 10-9 loss on single by the Gold pitcher.
By the end of the second inning the Rivals found themselves in a huge hole trailing 8-3 after a devasting second inning where the Northeastern Gold scored 6 runs.
But the Rivals battled back scoring a run in the top of the third inning when a Barnett single scored Wollert who had pulled a walk and stolen her way to third base.
The comeback inning for the Rivals was the top of the fourth where they scored 5 runs and tying the game 8-8.
In that inning Eder walked as the first batter up. Aspen Nelson then doubled moving Eder to third. Elizabeth Kent then doubled past second base scoring both Eder and Nelson. With one out, Wollert joined Kent on the base paths with a walk. Macias then singled to right field scoring Kent and moving Wollert to third base.
Barnett then doubled to center field scoring both Wollert and Macias. With two outs Kraft walked joining Barnett on the base paths but the next batter struck out ending the run.
Barnett led the team offensively with two hits, including a double, and 3 RBIs. Kraft, Nelson and Kent also had two hits apiece. Nelson and Kent each had doubles and Kent added 2 RBIs to her teammates. The Rivals 12U out-hit their opponent with 10 team hits compared to 9 by the Northeastern Gold.
Only Kraft, Macias and Eder managed to get a stolen base apiece.
Wollert took the loss in the circle but threw well for the Rivals. She would give up the 9 hits, and 10 earned runs, walked 6 and struck out 1 batter.
In the first round of the tournament bright and early on Sunday morning, the Rivals got a big scare from the Grand Junction Mavs 12U group who jumped out to a 8-5 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
It looked like the Rivals were going to blow the Mavs off the field as they scored 5 runs in the top of the first inning. That rally started with Wollert pulling a walk and advancing to third when Macias pounded a single to left field. Barnett then singled to center field bringing Wollert home and putting Macias at second base. During Turcotte’s at-bat Macias scored on a wild pit. Turcotte pulled a walk. She would then steal second and on the play Barnett stole home. Kraft then singled scoring Turcotte.
Mia Crow then doubled on a hard hit to left field moving Kraft to third base. During Eder’s at-bat Kraft was caught trying to steal home on a passed ball. Crow then successfully stole home on a wild pitch.
Then came one of the scariest innings the Rivals have ever experienced on defense. The Grand Junction hitters came up and pounded out a single and two doubles shaking the confidence of the Rivals’ defense.
The Mavs pounded out 7 hits before they chased Macias off the mound and Wollert came in relief with bases loaded and the game tied 5-5. Wollert struggled to find the strike zone walking in three. The Rivals then elected to go with Barnett with one out and bases loaded trailing 8-5. Barnett got a fly out to Turcotte for out number two and then struck out the next batter to get the Rivals out of the nightmare inning.
Amazingly, the Rivals’ bats were not shaken, and they came storming back scoring 5 runs in the top of the second inning helped by pitching issues by the Mavs. In that inning Kent drew a walk and Mitchek was hit by the pitch. Wollert walked loading the based. Macias was hit by the pitch and Kent scored. During Barnett’s at-bat Mitchek and Wollert scored on a throwing error by the pitcher. Barnett walked and Turcotte walked. More runs were there but Barnett was caught stealing and Kraft grounded out. On the Kraft ground out Turcotte’s speed got her home. Crow got on with a strong single with two outs but was stranded when the next batter struck out looking.
Barnett finished off the game holding the Mavs scoreless in the second and giving up two runs in the third before shutting them down for good. She would get the win in the circle giving up 2 hits and 2 earned runs, walked 3 and struck out 6.
In the tournament quarterfinals the Rivals defeated the Rocky Mountain Thunder 12U, 10-2, exploding for 4 runs in the third and four more in the fourth to secure the win.
With the score tied 2-2 after two complete innings the Rivals’ defense held strong and allowed their bats to do the talking. In the bottom of the third inning, Macias singled to start the inning. Barnett then singled to left field joining Macias on the base paths. Turcotte then scored both Macias and Barnett on a triple that got past the left fielder. Kraft then came up and scored Turcotte on a fly-ball single to center field. With two outs on the field Eder doubled on a hard ground ball past second base. She would score on a Nelson single.
Then in the bottom of the fourth inning the rally began with Mitchek pulling a walk. With one out Macias tripled scoring Mitchek. Barnett then followed suit hitting a triple to left field scoring Macias. Turcotte then doubled to left field scoring Barnett. With two outs and Crow at the plate Turcotte scored on a passed ball.
Barnett was still in the circle for the Rivals and managed to go two more inning before hitting a wall. She gave up no hits, 2 earned runs, walked 7 and struck out 5 batters. Macias took over for Barnett in relief and put the pressure on the RM Thunder giving up just one hit, no runs, walked none and struck out none.
Offensively, the Rivals scattered an impressive 16 hits around the field including 3 coming from Turcotte and 2 coming from Macias, Barnett, Kraft and Nelson. Turcotte led the way with 3 runs and 4 RBIs. Turcott and Eder had doubles, while Mascias, Barnett and Turcotte added triples to the tally.
In the semifinals the score was tied 4-4 when an error scored one run for the Northeastern Gold 12U breaking the dam open for their offense.
The Rivals had 7 hits in the lost cause with Macias having 2 and Barnett, Turcotte, Kraft, Crow and Nelson each adding one apiece. RBIs came from Macias, Barnett, Turcotte and Crow. Turcotte and Nelson each had a double; while Crow and Barnett added a triple apiece.
Macias carried on in the circle in back-to-back pressure performances taking the loss in the three innings of work. She would give up 10 hits, 6 earned runs, 5 walks and had 2 strikeouts.
This was the final tournament for the Rivals 12U Travel team. They finished with a strong 23-9 overall record and this team, along with a couple of other players, also won the Lamar League and tournament. They were coached by Heath Wollert and assisted by Kyle Barnett, Anna Wollert, and Kip Peck.