Two years ago, the bulk of the TN Fury ’97 squad that competed Sunday for the championship of the 18U Louisville bracket in the annual Louisville Slugger Independence Day Tournament left Colorado mired in heartbreak.
As a 16U squad in 2013, the Fury fell short in its title quest in Boulder. They made certain to write a more triumphant ending this year, as the Fury topped OC Batbusters-Briggs 8-4 to claim one of the four championship trophies handed out Sunday afternoon at Stazio Fields.
“This is an outstanding group of kids,” said Randy Coppinger, one of the Fury’s co-head coaches. “This is our second time being in a championship game here, but the last time we came up a little short. But this group of kids is resilient. I’m very proud of what they’ve done.”
The Fury sprinted to a quick lead and never looked back, taking advantage of porous early defense from the Batbusters to jump ahead 7-0 after three innings. The Batbusters committed two errors during the Fury’s three-run first — a burst highlighted by a solo home run from second baseman Kylee Rock — and committed four more in the third as the Fury extended its lead to 7-0.
Fury pitcher Jordan Fortel helped her own cause during the four-run third by slapping a two-run single.
“I just wanted to go right after them,” said Fortel, who allowed 11 hits but did not issue a walk. “I knew they were going to be a really great team and the Batbusters usually are a great organization. I just tried to go at them head-on.”
Not only did Fortel give herself a boost with the bat, but the Tennessee-Chattanooga recruit also turned in a game-changing defensive play.
Despite falling behind by seven runs, the Batbusters still had plenty of time to rally when they loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the third for Allison Harvey. Harvey delivered a sharp line drive up the middle, but Fortel was able to glove the shot and save at least two runs.
“That was a game-changer,” said the Fury’s other coach, Keith Perry. “If that ball gets through, two or three runs score that inning. That was a big play.”
The Batbusters finally got on the board with a run in the fourth and fought to within 7-3 on a two-run home run from Harvey in the fifth, but Fortel held the Batbusters to just a solo Anabella Robles home run the rest of the way.
Rock and Olivia Tamewitz each collected three hits in the Fury’s 11-hit salvo, with Tamewitz also recording a double, two stolen bases, and an RBI.
“It’s a really big honor to play on this team that has always been so successful,” said Rock. “Winning this whole tournament is a big privilege for our whole group down the road. The groups ahead of us set us up for this point, and now hopefully we’re setting it up for others that come later.”
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TN Fury ’97 8, OC Batbusters-Briggs 4
At Stazio Fields
304 000 1 — 8 11 1
000 120 1 — 4 11 7
W — Jordan Fortel. L — Sydney Golden.
TN Fury ’97 hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Jordan Fortel 4-0-2-2, Olivia Tamewitz 5-1-3-1, Jordan Spicer 4-1-0-0, Katie Corum 4-1-1-1, Kylee Rock 4-1-3-1, Baylee Cook 4-1-1-0, Booklyn Frazier 3-0-0-0, Madeline Bowlds 0-1-0-0, Erica O’Kane 3-2-1-1, Eyrika Brandenburg 4-0-0-0. Totals 35-8-11-6. 2B — O’Kane, Tamewitz. HR — Rock (none on in 1st). SB — Tamewitz 2.
OC Batbusters-Briggs hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Olivia Russ 2-0-0-0, Alondra Vicary 2-0-0-0, Brittany Vicary 1-0-0-0, Anabella Robles 3-1-3-1, Gabrielle Callaway 4-0-2-0, Alyssa Gonzalez 2-0-0-0, Erin Andris 2-1-0-0, Allison Harvey 4-1-2-2, Jordan Townsend 4-1-2-0, Ariana Williams 3-0-1-0, Jackie Hopper 3-0-1-0, Karah Wiseman 1-0-0-0, Amanda Nishihira 2-0-0-1. Totals 33-4-11-4. 2B — Hooper, Harvey. HR — Harvey (one on in 5th); Robles (none on in 7th). SB — Williams.
TN Fury pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Jordan Fortel 7-11-4-4-0-3.
OC Batbusters-Briggs pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Sydney Golden 7-11-8-6-3-1.