BOUDLER — For Paige Reichmuth, the difficult part is over. The championships are in the bag and her college choice has been made.
Now, the former Legacy infielder can enjoy a summer essentially about entertainment and sharpening her skills. Sure, playing for the 18U Colorado Stars Gold squad carries a large responsibility (and means you’re really talented), but Reichmuth only wants to soak in and enjoy her final summer before heading to Adams State.
The middle infielder, who is playing second base for the Stars as they compete this week in the mammoth Independence Day Tournament, was part of a Legacy squad that won three titles in her four years at the school.
“It was crazy to be a part of,” she said. “I’m just really lucky.”
When Reichmuth arrived at Legacy as a freshman, the Lightning already had won consecutive championships. She was a JV player for her first two years, although she served as a pinch runner for the varsity in the fall of 2010.
As a junior, she started and batted .371 with 17 RBIs as the Lightning captured its unprecedented fifth straight championship. Her numbers were similar as a senior starter (.366, 21 RBIs), although Legacy’s run finally was halted with a loss to Loveland in the semifinals.
Now, she plays second base for the Stars Gold.
“She’s been rock solid,” Stars Gold coach Dan Burns said. “She’s got good fundamentals and you never see her swing at a bad pitch. We have one of our middle infielders who’s about a week or so away from returning, so Paige really hasn’t gotten much of a break.”
In the tournament opener Wednesday against Sorcerer Blue, Reichmuth drove in the winning run with a walk-off RBI groundout. She also drew a bases-loaded walk in the 5-4 victory.
“This isn’t the first time she’s put the ball in play to win a game,” Burns said.
The winning RBI groundout was somewhat confusing to onlookers. With the score tied 4-4, the Stars had runners on second and third with no outs. It was the bottom of the sixth, which was the final inning because time had expired. Reichmuth laced a ball to third, but rather than trying to nail the Stars’ Valerie Ortega at the plate, Sorcerer Blue’s third baseman threw to first and the winning run scored.
“I don’t think they knew what was going on, so I think that’s why,” Reichmuth said. “Whatever it takes to win, I guess.”
Reichmuth also made a tremendous defensive play in the contest, ranging up the middle to backhand a ball and narrowly throw out Sorcerer Blue’s Alee Balanon in the second inning.
In a 1-1 tie against the Fresno Force later in the day, Reichmuth was the only Stars player to register more than one hit. She went 2 for 2.
Reichmuth has been batting last for the Stars, but it shouldn’t be seen as a slight on her skills. Stacked teams often use a quality hitter in the No. 9 slot (or No. 10 in the tournament as an extra batter is allowed), which serves essentially as a second leadoff hitter and one who can turn the lineup over.
“At first it was kind of tough, because usually I’m at the top,” Reichmuth said. “But it’s all about what the team needs.”
That selflessness and high school acumen is why many project she’ll be a solid college player. For now, though, Reichmuth simply “wants to have fun with my teammates and win some games.”
Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21