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The GameChanger of the Week award now belongs to the Colorado Stars 99 for their amazing feat in the Colorado State 12U Tournament. After suffering an early loss, the Stars were sent to the losers bracket of the double elimination tournament in a vicious 28 team field. To win the tournament, the Stars would have to win 9 games in only 28 hours. It goes without saying that this was going to require some willpower.
Well, the Stars initially seemed up to the challenge. They went on a run for the ages, winning their first 6 games by a combined score of 61-7. That’s right, 61-7. But in the Loser’s Bracket Championship, their bats cooled considerably, and they were leading a mere 2-0 going into the bottom of the 5th (the final inning). Their opponents put the first two runners on base, but a strike out, caught stealing, and ground ball out secured the win.
But this was a mere mole-hill compared to the mountain of beating the thus undefeated NC Xplosion twice in a row to capture the State Title. The Stars cruised through the first winning 7-3 to set up a winner-take-all Championship Game, the Stars having already played 8 games in the past 26 hours.
The Stars stayed hot, scoring 7 runs in the first two innings, and the score remained 7-0 heading into the bottom of the 4th. But then the wheels started to fall off. The NC Xplosion blew up for 8 runs, leaving the Stars with only one inning to tie or take the lead. Was fatigue starting to catch up to them? Did the Stars have it in them to pull out their first close victory of the tournament? Even if they did take the lead, could the hold off the Xplosion? With two outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd, the Stars were mere seconds away from elimination. But Brittany Roberts was able to reach on an error, scoring a run, and leaving a runner on third, and then Gianna Ball was able to take advantage of a passed ball to score the go-ahead run.
With a fragile one-run lead, the Stars brought in Megan Beisterfeld to close out the game. After a leadoff single, Beisterfeld settled down and retired the next three batters in only 7 pitches. The Stars had won the State Championship, achieving the nearly unthinkable feat of winning 9 games in just 28 hours.
Ally Creech of the Indiana Mojo not only pitched for her team, but hit 4 out-of-the-park Home Runs in the one-weekend Greenwood Quake tournament. That would put her tied for 108th in the American League in Home Runs with Ichiro and Johnny Damon (among others).
The Filer Idaho Mustangs won all three games to take their tournament championship, including a big victory over the top team in their area. But most impressive? They did all this with just 9 players due to injuries.