By any measure, Alison Cooper put together a shin-sational effort Tuesday.
Pitching for the Impact Gold-DFW 14u team, Cooper absorbed a wicked grounder to the lower leg in the team’s contest against the Texas Glory Futures and just kept going, tossing six scoreless innings as the Impact registered a 12-0 victory at the TC/USA Nationals in Austin.
The offense ran wild in the later innings, scoring 10 runs in the final two frames, but the game was still scoreless in the second inning when Cooper took the shot. In a sign that it was going to be a good day, Abbie Orrick grabbed the loose ball and threw out the runner anyway.
“I was going to try and get the ball, but I took a step and it hurt like crazy. So I was yelling at (Orrick) saying, ‘get the ball, finish the play.’ We had to get that out,” said Cooper, who scattered four hits and didn’t walk a batter. “I was going to keep pitching; I didn’t want to stop. Our team starting hitting, and we got it. We’re going to go all out in all our games, no matter what.”
“She’s a battler – every time she gets out there. She’s pumped before the game, she’s pumped in the dugout, and she’s a fighter, which is fun,” said Impact coach Jimmy Middlebrook. “Every time we go to a tournament, we’re thinking ‘title.’ At this point of the season, you should be playing your best, and we are at some points. There are five or six teams that could win this thing, so you better be playing well.”
The Impact Gold will play at 8 a.m. Wednesday with a chance to claim first place in the 14u AA Bracket and earn a priority spot in the final double-elimination bracket. Having outscored opponents 34-4 so far in Austin, the team’s offense is certainly on track, and leadoff hitter Mackenzie Denson is a big part of the process.
She was 4-for-4 against the Glory, scoring twice and looking essentially unbeatable on the basepaths. She also made a terrific running catch in center field in the fourth, when the Glory had two runners on and nobody out.
“I like hitting leadoff – I can help my team, tell them what the pitcher is throwing and what everything looks like,” said Denson, who added a strong defensive play is just as rewarding as a leadoff single. “I like to get those balls that are usually gappers and catch them; whenever somebody thinks they’re getting a hit and I take it away.
“We definitely think we can win; last week we played 16u last weekend and we beat some of the best teams.”
Jacee Hamlin had two hits, including a triple, and drove in three runs while scoring twice. Orrick drove in two more and had two doubles; Jaden Middlebrook and Carlee Ratcliff each had two hits and an RBI.
Micaela Wark reached base twice for the Glory; Kaylee Davis added a double.
Tags: Fastpitch, Softball, Triple Crown Fastpitch