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Examiner
  • Resilient Originals ride comeback wins to round of 16

  • David Baker isn’t sure if his Originals 14U softball team is the best he’s ever coached, but he’s positive they’re the best at bouncing back.

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  • David Baker isn’t sure if his Originals 14U softball team is the best he’s ever coached, but he’s positive they’re the best at bouncing back.
    The Originals’ resilience has been on full display in this week’s United States Specialty Sports Association 14U Girls Fast Pitch World Series at Adair Park. The Originals, a team based out of Blue Springs, started pool play on Tuesday by rallying from a 3-2 deficit in the final inning to win 4-3 over the Mud Turtles of Baxter Springs, Kan., on Reagen Kanagawa’s walk-off hit. In their second game, they were down 5-0 to the Rockets98 (Olathe, Kan.) and down to their last out before they rallied to earn a tie and went on Wednesday to earn a 10-2 win over the ’98 Black Windows (Litchfield, Ill.) and a 6-3 triumph over the Sidekicks (Kan.) to advance to the winner’s bracket.
    From there, the Originals continued their solid play, routing MWC '98 of Olathe, Kan., 9-0. They then edged the Missouri Pride of Columbia 4-1 Thursday to reach the round of 16. The Originals were scheduled to play the Columbia Storm Thursday night, but the score was unavailable at press time.
    “This is the most resilient group I’ve had,” Baker said. “They battle. They never get down even when we’re behind, and I can always count on one inning where they’re going to put up a crooked number.”
    Although they couldn’t match Tuesday’s dramatics, the Originals did navigate through a few hairy spots in Thursday’s victory over the Pride. They seized a 1-0 lead in the third when Aubrie Munoz led off with a single and later scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by Lauren Lauvetz. The Pride tied it in its half of the third, but the Originals plated another run in the fifth on Lee Dellenbaugh’s sacrifice fly and two more in the seventh on a two-RBI double from Sierra Meyer.
    But in the final frame, the Pride threatened to rally, placing two on with one out and bringing the tying run to the plate against Kanagawa. Baker calmly gathered his team in the pitcher’s circle and told them not to sweat the runners on base. Meyer then proceeded to coax a ground out and fly out to end the game.
    “It seems as though if we get down, we always seem to make a heart-attack comeback in the last inning and score runs to win the game,” said Kanagawa, who earned the win after allowing only four runs over seven innings and striking out seven. “We always pick each other up. If somebody makes a bad play, you’re like, ‘Hey, shake it off or I’ll slap you in the face.’ But we love each other and we get along.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Baker said that’s been the key to his team’s success. He can’t think of any other explanation for why they always seem to get each others’ backs in the tightest spots.
    “It’s plain chemistry,” he said. “We’ve got 12 girls on our team and they’re like sisters. They’re almost like daughters. I don’t have a daughter on the team, but when someone asks, I tell them I have 12 daughters.”
    Celine Armstrong stroked a single, reached twice and scored for the Originals in the win over the Pride while Madisen Kanagawa singled, stole a base and scored; Munoz singled twice, walked and plated a run and Meyer ripped a single and double.
    “We’ve played together for a long time,” Meyer said. “I guess we just play as a team and pick each other up. Even if we’re losing and stuff, we’ll wind up coming back.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC
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