• Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

    Mead High School's Anna Veltien, playing for the Colorado Stars, throws in the game against the New Mexico Sundancers at Garden Acres Park during the Louisville Slugger Independence Day tournament on Wednesday. Go to for more photos.

  • Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek High School's Emma Flynn, playing for the Colorado Stars, snags a ground ball in the game against the New Mexico Sundancers at Garden Acres Park during the Louisville Slugger Independence Day tournament on Wednesday.



LONGMONT – With arguably a collection of the nation’s top softball clubs assembled in one place, there are no easy games at the Boulder Independence Day Tournament.

On Day 1 of the 2016 Boulder IDT, the Colorado Stars Beavers players took some early lumps against some of the nation’s top competition. In their first pool play game, the Stars lost 13-3 to the Texas Blaze and their second game of the tournament ended in a 2-2 tie with the New Mexico Sundancers.

“Well, at the end of the day it’s just competing against the highest level in the nation,” Stars head coach Ryan Beavers said. “We live out here in the Rockies and we equated it to hiking. There’s hiking in the foothills or climbing a fourteener, but coming to this thing is like climbing Mount Everest. It’s just more of a challenge so we have to be able to kick things into a higher gear.”

Playing in 16U pool play at Garden Acres Park on Wednesday, the Stars fell in four innings against the Blaze, who allowed just five total runs in two games. With their second game tied in the bottom of the seventh inning, they advanced a runner to second base but couldn’t push across the winning run.

“Offensively, we have to adjust to whatever we see in the circle because you’re not going to run into anybody who is soft out here,” Beavers said. “You’ve got to fight tooth and nail for every run you get. We travel to a lot of national events but this tournament seems like it’s an even higher level than any of those.”

All four runs in the second game were unearned and the Stars had just one hit. They had five total hits between the two games.

Their first tournament win eluded the Stars on Wednesday, but the Boulder IDT is as much about showcasing their abilities for the many collegiate scouts in attendance.

“It gives us a lot of feedback as to where our athletes are at this team,” Beavers said. “It’s like, ‘Alright, I can hit local kids. I can hit kids when I go to a regional tournament. Now I’m at the biggest one there is and I need to find out what I really do well and what I need to work on.’ At the end of the day it’s a showcase event so you need to play good defense and even when you’re making outs, you need to make loud outs.”

Brad Cochi: or

Texas Blaze 13, Colorado Stars 3

At Garden Acres Park

715 0 — 13 10 0

102 0 — 3 4 2

W — Dann.

Blaze hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Jatzlan 2-1-1-0, Licon 2-1-0-1, Vanney 3-2-3-4, Burnett 2-2-1-1, Trlicah 3-1-1-0, Kutac 2-1-0-0, Dann 3-0-0-1, Lind 2-1-1-1, Damani 2-2-2-1, Brakes 1-1-1-1. Totals 22-13-10-10. 2B — Vanney 2, Brakes. HR — Vanney, Burnett. SB — Damani, Lind, Vanney, Kutac.

Stars hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Harper 1-1-1-2, Flynn 2-0-2-0, Jorissen 2-0-0-0, Veltien 2-0-0-0, Robb 2-0-0-0, Jones 2-0-0-0, Amidon 2-0-0-0, Levine 2-0-1-0, Beirne 1-0-0-0, Wright 0-1-0-0. Totals 16-3-4-2. HR — Harper.

Blaze pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Dann 4-4-3-3-1-5.

Stars pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Veltien 4-10-13-10-4-1.

Stars 2, Sundancers 2

At Garden Acres Park

000 101 0 — 2 8 3

101 000 0 — 2 1 0

Sundancers hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Garcia 3-0-0-0, Leger 3-1-2-1, Gallegos 3-0-1-0, Lopez 3-0-0-0, Klovenas 3-0-1-0, Marquis 3-0-2-0, McCoy 3-0-1-0, Rosales 3-0-0-0, Martinez 3-0-0-0, Gallegos 2-0-1-0. Totals 29-2-8-1. SB — McCoy, Gallegos, Leger.

Stars hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Harper 2-2-1-0, Flynn 2-0-0-0, Jorissen 2-0-0-0, Veltien 3-0-0-0, Robb 2-0-0-0, Jonas 2-0-0-0, Levine 3-0-0-0, Gruner 2-0-0-0, Weigland 2-0-0-0, Beavers 2-0-0-0. Totals 22-2-1-0. SB — Harper.

Sundancers pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Gallegos 7-1-2-0-6-9.

Stars pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Jorissen 7-8-2-0-0-3.