• Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Erie High School's Maddie Foster, of the Colorado Stars, warms up during the game against the California Firecrackers during the Louisville Sluggers Independence Day tournament. Go to for more photos.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Hunter Huser, left, of the Colorado Stars is tagged out in a run down by Allie Tito of the California Firecrackers during the Louisville Sluggers Independence Day tournament.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Alexis Egan of the Colorado Stars makes contact against California Firecrackers during the Louisville Sluggers Independence Day tournament.



Maddie Foster admitted Friday afternoon there may have been a sense of overconfidence on the part of the Colorado Stars Sakamoto softball team heading into the Boulder Independence Day Tournament this week.

But after giving up 34 runs in three games to start pool play and losing three times as a result, the Erie senior to-be has seen her teammates rebound from that initial catastrophic start and are ready to attack Saturday’s bracket play.

“I think we started the tournament out thinking we were going to be great with the talent we have, but as it got going we realized we’re facing a lot tougher teams than we’ve faced all season,” said Foster, who started at second base in the team’s final pool play victory Friday afternoon at the Stazio Ballfields. “We really had to step it up. We had a lot of mental errors early, but we’ve had a lot better energy lately. Just having each other’s backs a lot more.”

Foster is one of four local players on head coach Scott Sakamoto’s team and, as an uncommitted player, is hoping to get as many chances as possible to get a look this weekend. In fact, Taylor Nielsen (Longmont), Paris Woods (Frederick) and Lainey Hughes (Broomfield) all have that in common at this particular moment in time — though Nielsen and Hughes are just going to be juniors this school year.

If the team shows to be in control in bracket play the way they did to close out their final three pool play games — all wins capped by a 4-1 decision over the California Firecrackers — they could be in store for a good, long Saturday.

The team’s turnaround started with a 4-0 shutout of the Nevada Lil Rebels Gold on Thursday night and continued Friday morning with a 4-3 win over the Florida Gators Gold.

“Hopefully we can keep it going, because our pitching is really holding us in there and we are just getting enough runs to get some wins,” Sakamoto said. “The first three games, we just were not ever in them. Then we get that shutout and we only allowed (four) runs (Friday), so we’re getting that good pitching and defense.

“We got some timely hits this morning.”

There wasn’t a lot of action against the Firecrackers, at least not on the part of the visiting team thanks to Chatfield graduate and Chadron State signee Jessica Jarecki. Jarecki allowed just two hits and struck out 10 batters in the circle, putting the Stars fifth of eight teams in their pool.

While runs have come at a premium throughout, the Stars made things happen on the basepaths to score three times in a crucial fourth inning. Foster went 0-for-2 in the pool finale, but she knows it is important not only for her team but for herself to continue to stay positive.

“You just to keep a high intensity, because you never know when the ball is going to get hit to you,” Foster said.

Adam Dunivan: or

Colorado Stars Sakamoto 4, California Firecrackers 1

At Stazio Ballfields

CA Firecrackers
100 000 — 1 2 1

CO Stars Sakamoto
100 300 — 4 7 1

W — Jessica Jarecki.

Stars hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Alexis Egan 3-1-2-0, Katelyn Eldredge 2-1-1-0, Melissa Rahrich 2-1-1-0, Hunter Huser 3-0-0-1, Ally Richter 3-1-1-1, Jessica Jarecki 2-0-1-0, Lainey Hughes 0-0-0-0, Gabby Loya 2-0-0-0, Abbey Montoya 2-0-0-0, Maddie Foster 2-0-0-0, Alley Kim 2-0-1-0.

Stars pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Jarecki 6-2-1-1-3-10.