Orchard Mesa Major Girls continue their winning ways at Little League state tourney
Juliette Stewart sings to herself when she’s pitching, and her teammates know exactly what she sings.
They know the song so well that they hummed the Logan Paul tune Saturday after Stewart pitched two innings of relief in Orchard Mesa’s 17-3 victory over Arapahoe in the Major Girls Little League state softball tournament.
“I sing it in the dugout a lot,” Stewart admitted with a smile.
“Yeah she does,” teammate Chloe Raisch added. “It gets pretty annoying.”
Stewart’s teammates can poke fun at her because Orchard Mesa is on a roll at the state tournament. Orchard Mesa has cruised in its first two games and a win Monday in the championship game will send the team to the Southwest Regional tournament, July 27 to Aug. 1 in Waco, Texas.
Camaraderie is also key to Orchard Mesa’s success as coach Randy Raisch said six players on the team have played together on the same All-Star team for the past three seasons.
“What’s lucky, too, is that they’re all around the same age,” Randy Raisch said. “So they’re moving from Minors to Majors together and eventually will move from Majors to Juniors together. Orchard Mesa is a pretty small community. It’s spread out, but the girls all go to the same schools and run in the same circles. Plus, we have the benefit of girls really liking each other, too.”
When teammates like each other, Stewart said, they perform better. There was a lot of that to go around against Arapahoe, with Porsha Clark finishing 3 for 3 with three runs scored and three RBI, Takia Lordes hitting a two-run, inside-the-park home run in the third inning, and Jordan Bauer adding a 2-for-3, two-RBI performance.
Aside from Orchard Mesa’s nine-hit attack, the team committed only two errors, with Lordes, the starting pitcher, and Stewart combining to allow one hit apiece in the four-inning run-rule game.
Orchard Mesa hopes it can continue its success Monday against Arapahoe or Westminster, either of which must beat Orchard Mesa twice to win the state title and advance to the regional tournament.
“Before the season the coaches made us write down a bunch of goals, and I think most of us put down state,” Bauer said. “And so far, we’re definitely accomplishing that goal.”