A long, grueling day in Hillsboro ended with five victories for Crossfire-Atkins. The Idaho natives knocked down every opponent it faced on Sunday at the 2019 Valley Invite, including the final bout against the NW Bullets to claim the Division I title, 6-3.
“That’s the best we’ve thrown all year,” said head coach David Dwyer. “All three girls were fantastic all weekend long. The girls played good team ball throughout the tournament. I’m not saying it wasn’t unexpected but this was nice to have happen for the kids.”
Tired bats, not tired arms ruled the opening innings. Through three innings, Crossfire recorded just a single hit and managed zero runners in scoring position.
Likewise, the Bullet's didn't record its first hit until the bottom of the fourth.
With the Bullets putting up a wall defensively, Crossfire’s Jaylynn Stinson promised to be up to the task to keep the NW’s offense at bay.
“I had a nice combination between my drop ball and my changeup,” said Stinson. “I wasn’t trying to overpower anyone because I knew I had a great defense behind me.”
In seven innings of work, Stinson did tally five strikeouts but it was the stellar play behind her that highlighted the bottom half of each inning in Hillsboro. Particularly, shortstop Kaylan Walker who's gold glove snagged six assists and a putout.
“Sometimes it’s all about trust,” explained Stinson. “I know they have my back whenever I pitch and today was no different.”
Crossfire failed to add a hit to its total in the fourth inning but would manage to push across two runs. A walk and a hit-by-pitch ignited the inning. An error from the catcher trying to throughout Kaylan Walker’s steal attempt resulted in the game’s first run. Two batters later, Hattie Hruza’s sacrifice fly lifted Crossfire to a 2-0 advantage.
“We just started to put the ball in play,” said Dwyer. “The Bullets’ pitchers did a great job of limiting us and we weren’t hitting the ball that hard. We just put it in play and put a little pressure on their defense.”
Two innings later, Crossfire again put balls in play, forcing a pair of errors in the top of seventh leading to a 6-0 cushion.
Even though the Bullets would rally for three runs in the bottom end of the frame, Crossfire found its three outs to take the Division I Upper Gold Championship, 6-3.
“We did way better this year than we did last year,” said Stinson. “I’m happy for my teammate. I’m happy to see them happy.”
With an early-summer win its pocket, the long drive back to Boise might not seem so tiresome.
“This means everything to these parents and players,” Dwyer said. “Idaho usually doesn’t get a lot of love wherever we go. It’s a huge win for the team and for our young organization.”