LOVELAND, Colo. — The Twisters Fastpitch 16-under softball team fought off a 3-2 deficit in the top of the sixth inning to storm back for seven runs in the seventh and defeat NC Force 10-4 in the semifinal game of the USSSA Mountain States Championships on Saturday at Barnes Softball Complex in Loveland, Colo.
The win capped off the Twisters’ fourth win of the day, earning them a berth in today’s championship game at 2 p.m.
Twisters coach Dan Fox pointed out that his team was down to its final strike in the top of the sixth inning when centerfielder Barbara Calvert came through with an RBI single to tie the game at 3-3.
“We were down to our last two strikes,” Fox said. “The celebration was like we won the World Series. It was amazing. There’s a lot of crying going on on our side. That’s the most emotional win we’ve ever had. It was the best win ever.”
The road to the championships wasn’t easy, though.
The Twisters started off the tournament with a sluggish start, but picking up a 4-1 win over Colorado Havoc-Anthony to start the day. In the second game, the Twisters jumped out to a 4-0 first-inning lead before cruising to a 9-1 win over Aztecas, a team the Twisters edged 8-6 back on June 30.
In game three, Mikayla Butler allowed just one run on three hits to help the Twisters blow out Explosion 2, 9-1 in four innings.
The final game, though, proved pivotal, as the Twisters’ bats didn’t come alive until the seventh inning when international rules placed Twisters catcher Marisa Santos on second base to start the frame. Back-to-back doubles by Cassandra Bustillos and Isabel Thompson opened the gate for the Twisters, giving them a 5-3 lead. The Twisters went on to plate five more runs in the inning to take a decisive 10-3 leading into the bottom of the frame. Shaylee Rickard shut down the Force’s offense in its final at-bat, allowing just one run.
“I think an emotional win likes this makes our girls believe,” Fox said. “It’s going to help us and the days when we go to the World Series, I think it’s going to be very helpful that these girls believe that they can go the distance and that it’s not over until the last bat.”
Consolation games will start at 8 a.m. today, and whichever team makes its way back through the consolation will take on the Twisters at 2 p.m. at the Barnes Softball Complex for the championship. The Twisters, who have now won 45 straight games and 55 of their last 56, will need only one win to claim the tournament title.
Look for the Twisters’ full tournament box scores on Star-Herald Sports Facebook page and on www.starherald.com. The results will also run in Tuesday’s edition of the Star-Herald.