LONGMONT — While there is always pressure to win and to perform on the softball field, at the Boulder Independence Day Tournament, there is also pressure to impress.
The national showcase softball invite annually attracts 200 or so of the best club teams from across the country, which in turn attracts nearly 400 college coaches and scouts. That number of top-level competitors and next-level evaluators can create a stressful environment for uncommitted 16-year-old players like Erie High School’s Maddie Foster, who hopes to play collegiate softball.
But after Thursday’s pool play performance, which included a 9-4 victory over the SoCal Choppers, Foster and her 11 teammates on the Colorado Stars ’99 club can rest a little easier knowing that more than a few interested spectators saw it happen.
“It was really important for the coaches and scouts to see us all play well,” Foster said. “I’m really glad they got to see one of our better games. There’s always room for improvement but we kept it in the infield on defense and we played for each other and it turned out the way we wanted.”
Foster, who will be a junior at Erie High School in the fall, and the Stars ’99 players are competing in the 16-under division at this year’s Boulder IDT and are entering the prime recruiting phase of their prep and club softball careers. None of the Stars ’99 players have verbally committed to a collegiate program.
Against the top-seeded Choppers on Thursday at Garden Acres Park, Stars ’99 faced a club that has 11 of its 18 players already verbally committed to play in college, most of them to Division-I programs. But the Stars ’99 group, consisting largely of players from Broomfield High’s 2014 Class 5A state semifinal squad, felt like it was due for a bounce-back day after allowing 28 runs in two losses on Wednesday.
“Yesterday we didn’t perform well so we had a talk before the game as a team because we knew we were playing a great team,” said Stars ’99 outfielder Paris Woods. “We knew we had to play our best and we did. We all came together and got it done. We thought, ‘What do we have to lose?'”
Trailing 3-1 after the top of the fifth, Woods hit a grand slam that highlighted an eight-run bottom of the inning in which Stars ’99 amassed five hits and three walks. Broomfield High’s Megan Biesterfeld followed Woods’ grand slam with a solo shot of her own.
“We were just really confident,” said Woods, who will be a junior at Frederick High this fall. “The pitcher was kind of struggling and we took advantage of that.”
In total, Woods went 3 for 3 at the plate and drove in five runs.
Broomfield’s Taylor Gilmore earned the win on the mound, allowing two earned runs in relief of prep teammate Brittany Roberts, who allowed one run in three innings. Overall, Stars ’99 head coach Kale Gilmore was pleased with how all of his players seemed to pick an opportune time to show what they’re made of.
“I had several coaches come up to me right after the game and said the noticed players and they wanted to talk about them,” Gilmore said. “It really only takes one game for a girl to get recognized and that’s why we do this. They took advantage of their situation today and hopefully it pays off for them. We’ve been playing Division-I commits for over a month now and we can hang around. That’s a really good team that’s not used to losing and we’re right on par with them.”
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CO Stars ’99 9, SoCal Choppers 4
At Garden Acres Sports Complex
000 211 — 4 6 0
CO Stars ’99
001 08x — 9 11 1
W — Taylor Gilmore. L — Mo Sobel.
SoCal Choppers hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Lucy Yan 3-1-2-2, Ryleigh Bermea 3-0-0-0, Taty Castillo 3-1-1-0, Chloe Kerns 3-0-0-0, Carly Gaskill 3-1-2-2, Amanda Schanzt 3-0-1-0, Kennedi Sorensen 2-0-0-0, Kalei Sorensen 2-0-0-0, Julyssa Hernandez 2-0-0-0, Jaclyn Napoli 0-1-0-0. Totals 24-4-6-4. HR — Yang (solo in fourth), Gaskill (solo in sixth).
CO Stars ’99 hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Mikayla Marquez 3-0-0-0, Brittany Roberts 1-1-1-1, Paris Woods 3-1-3-5, Megan Biesterfeld 3-1-1-1, Brennan Thomas 3-0-1-0, Taylor Gilmore 3-0-1-0, Maddie Foster 1-1-0-0, Gabby Loya 1-0-0-0, Hannah Shores 1-1-1-0, Taylor Nielsen 1-1-0-0, Kendall Lockwood 2-1-2-1, Jordan Goodwin 2-2-1-1. Totals 23-9-11-9. 2B — Woods. HR — Woods (grand slam in fifth), Biesterfeld (solo in fifth). SB — Roberts.
SoCal Choppers pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Mo Sobel 4-8-5-5-4-2, Emma Detamore 1-3-4-4-1-2.
CO Stars ’99 pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Brittany Roberts 3-1-1-1-0-1, Taylor Gilmore 3-5-3-2-0-0.