WESTMINSTER, COLO. - After dropping a 1-0 game here Sunday (June 29), the All-Stars from National Pro Fastpitch used an improved offense and stout pitching to defeat a pair of teams from Fort Collins to capture the Triple Crown Sparkler Tournament title at the Christopher Four Plex.
Sunday's title win over the Fort Collins Triple Crown Buckaroos avenged an earlier loss Sunday morning to the Northern Colorado women's softball team as the NPF All-Stars posted a 9-1 in the Triple Crown Sparkler Tournament finale to finish the two-day event with a 4-1 record to improve their season record to 8-2. The Triple Crown Sparkler Tournament has attracted 118 teams from 20 states. The NPF All-Stars were competing in the six-team pro/semi-pro division as the tournament runs through Tuesday when three more division titles will be decided.
After being shutout in the morning by the Buckaroos' Danielle Thacker, the NPF All-Stars scored three runs in the second inning of the championship game off losing pitcher Mel Mahoney to secure the lead for good. After back-to-back singles by designated hitter Tarrah Beyster (Oregon State) and shortstop Allison Andrade (Arizona), right fielder Venus Taylor (Western Illinois) and first baseman Erika Hanson (Arizona) delivered run-producing hits for the first two NPF runs. Taylor scored the third run when left fielder Lauren Bauer (Arizona) grounded into a double play.
Amy Kyler (Cleveland State), who pitched a four-inning no-hitter Saturday, won the title game for the NPF All-Stars for her fifth win in six decisions this season. She struck out six and walked none as she gave up her second earned run against her this season in when the Buckaroos used two fourth inning singles to score a their only run of the game.
The NPF All-Stars advanced to the title game by defeating the Fort Collins Force/TC Diamonds 8-0 in the semifinals as Beyster pitched a four-hitter with one strike out and no walks. Beyster is now 3-1 this season with a 1.16 earned run average for 23.1 innings pitched. Catcher Lindsey Collins (Arizona) and Bauer hit home runs in the semifinal contest to pace the eight-hit NPF attack.
Kyler's one-hit, 15-strike out pitching effort in Sunday's opening pool play game against the Fort Collins Triple Crown Buckaroos, the NPF All-Stars wasted a seven-hit attack to drop a 1-0 decision in the six inning contest. A pair of Kyler walks in the top of the sixth set the stage for catcher Aly Carter's double that scored third baseman Jen Mahoney with the deciding run.
After missing opportunities with two runners on in both the first and third innings, the NPF All-Stars got the first two runners on in the bottom of the sixth on a single by third baseman Jaime Foutch (Oklahoma State) and a double by Beyster. Thacker, who did not walk a batter in the game, got the next three batters out to preserve the win.
While the NPF All-Star pitchers were pitching no-hitters in Saturday's two wins, the team's offense scored 23 runs with 25 hits, including nine hits for extra bases. Foutch paced the All-Stars attack Saturday by collecting four hits in as many at-bats with a double, home run and seven runs-batted in.
The NPF All-Stars opened pool play on Saturday morning by scoring a 6-0 win over the Fort Collins Force/TC Diamonds as Beyster posted a four-inning no-hitter as the game exceeded the 80-minute time limit. Beyster walked three and struck out five batters as the loser's had only one base runner reach second in the game.
Foutch paced the NPF attack in the first-game with two hits, including a three-run homer in the All-Stars' six-run sixth-inning to seal the win. For the season, Foutch is now batting .655 this season (19 hits in 29 at-bats) with five doubles, two home runs and 13 runs-batted-in.
In the second game Saturday, the NPF All-Stars scored in every inning en route to a 17-0 win over the Northern Illinois Lightning of Elgin as the contest was stopped due to the 10-run rule after four innings. Kyler struck out seven and walked none. In 37.2 2/3 innings this season, Kyler has now only allowed on earned run while striking out 67 of the 122 batters she has faced. Cox and Bauer paced the NPF offense in the second game as each player had three hits. Cox had a double and two runs batted in while Bauer had two doubles.
The Triple Crown Sparkler Tournament was the NPF All-Stars' fifth stop on a 17-city, nationwide tour to promote the re-launch of National Pro Fastpitch in 2004. In addition to posting a 6-2 record in games in California, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado, the NPF All-Stars have hosted clinics and made appearances at Major League Baseball games in San Francisco, Minneapolis and Milwaukee.
Following the Triple Crown Sparkler Tournament game, the NPF All-Stars are involved in "meet and greet" social functions before the Colorado Rockies' 7:05 p.m. game with the Colorado Rockies Monday at Coors Field June 30. The NPF All-Stars end their Colorado schedule with a 6 p.m. game Tuesday against the Triple Crown All-Stars in Fort Collins before being featured Wednesday in a morning clinic in Highlands Ranch.