Shaw Heights’ hit parade too much for Fruita
By KENT MINCER
Shaw Heights 9-10 year-old girls softball coach Jason Pfeifer spent the entire Little League state tournament telling his team it was on the cusp of breaking out with its bats.
“I said, ‘You’re a great-hitting team and you’re on the verge,’ ” Pfeifer told his team during batting practice on Wednesday.
Shaw Heights broke out in a big way, winning the state title with an 18-7 victory over Fruita.
“That’s our principal rule,” Pfeifer said of the philosophy he and his assistant have brought to the team since they began coaching the 9-10 year-old program five years ago.
“When they move up a level, we want them to be able to hit,” Pfeifer said.
If Wednesday was any indication, they should have no problem when they move up to the Major girls level.
Shaw Heights pounded out 24 hits, including seven for extra bases, against two Fruita pitchers.
In two previous state tournament games against Fruita, Shaw Heights scored three runs and five runs.
Prior to Wednesday’s game, “(Pfeifer) just said to think about it as another game, but at the end you could be champions,” Shaw Heights catcher Angel Abeyta said.
Abeyta was one of three Shaw Heights batters with four hits, including two triples, and she had four RBI.
“They were firing on all cylinders,” Pfeifer said of his hitters.
They fired from the game’s first pitch.
Leadoff hitter Jordan Smith smacked a ball to left field that rolled nearly to the fence for an inside-the-park home run. Two pitches later, Isabel Padilla belted the first of her two triples.
After being shut out for two innings, Fruita got on the board in the third inning to cut its deficit to 5-3.
The Shaw Heights bats came alive again, as it scored five runs on six hits in the top of the fourth.
Fruita coach Ron Reed had to tip his cap to Shaw Heights.
“I knew they had a good-hitting team,” Reed said. “They have a great team.”
Reed took a look at the overall picture as he smiled after the game.
“I’m impressed with how far we came from where we started,” he said.
Abeyta had an ear-to-ear grin when asked how it felt to be a state champion.
“It feels great,” she said.
The Orchard Mesa 10-11 year-old boys brought another state title back to the Grand Valley with a 10-5 victory over Tri-Lakes at Orchard Mesa.
The victory avenged a 9-8 loss to Tri-Lakes on Tuesday.
It was the second consecutive state championship for the Orchard Mesa group, which won the 9-10 year-old championship last year in Frisco.
In the only other state tournament still being contested, the Grand Mesa Major boys’ scheduled game with North Boulder in Hidden Lake was rained out. The two teams, which each have one loss, will try to settle the matter tonight at 5:30.