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Softballs fill the air at firecracker tourney

Arvada’s Colorado Invasion among 92 teams in annual invitational

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Arvada girls on the roster of the Colorado Invasion 14 and under team posted a key win June 23, as they edged the Colorado Springs Thunder in the pool play game that was part of the three-day Firecracker Tournament sponsored by the Arvada Girls Softball Association.

“These girls are from Arvada and other Jefferson County communities and they have been together for three years and play very good softball,” Invasions Coach Staci Kahn said. “They practice hard and play hard every time they take the field. We play a lot of local area tournaments but we also do travel some. We won the Pony Express Tournament in Roswell, New Mexico earlier this year which qualifies our team to compete in the nationals that will be held the end of July.”

The Invasion took the field June 23 at Youth Memorial Park against the Thunder in their first game of pool play.

The Thunder scored first but the Invasion battled back. Invasion pitcher Taylor Kahn threw well and she got good support from defensive play by teammates. Megan Loveland played first base and mad a number of solid defensive plays and Brianna Salazar turned in a solid performance behind the plate. Kuhn also helped her own cause offensively as she drilled a single to left field that scored two teammates. The Invasion won the game, 5-3.

Coach Kahn said most girls start playing softball through recreational program. Girls who want to play softball at a higher level join competitive teams like the Invasion.

“Most coaches stay with a competitive team as the girls get older and move into the next age division,” she said. “That is what I have done with this team. This is my third year with the team and about half our 12 players have been with me all three years.”

Some of the players on competitive softball teams also play other sports like swimming and gymnastics but many focus on playing softball the coach said.

In addition to being the Invasions coach Staci Kahn volunteers as a board member with the Arvada Girls Softball Association. She said this is the 17th year the organization has sponsored the tournament.

“This tournament is a fund-raiser for our association,” she said. “I feel this tournament is all about helping promote girls softball. That is because the money we raise we use to pay the expenses for the Arvada association recreational teams so the recreational program is available to any girl who wants to play softball.”

This year 92 teams in five age divisions took part in the tournament. Each age group entries were divided into four-team pools for round-robin play. Once pool play was completed teams were seeded based on pool play records in single-elimination brackets to determine tournament champions.

Invasion made the single elimination bracket, where the team beat first round opponents The Next Level, 11-3. They however lost in the quarterfinals in a 16-15 shootout with The Firecrackers-Bricker team.

Several other area teams also did well, Arvada’s Colorado Angels finished third in the 12 and under bracket.

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