The Columbus Junior Softball All-Star Team only had a few days after their win over New Mexico in the Southwest Regional Championship Game to get to Kirkland, WA for the beginning of the World Series. The players and coaches drove back to Texas to fly out of Houston to get to Kirkland, while many families and friends continued the journey on from New Mexico without going home first.
Isabel Kainers mom, dad and sister (Timberly, Justin and Riley) drove a U-Haul trailer to Kirkland with all the players’ equipment so the trip would be easier.
The players and coaches arrive in Kirkland and have a list of obligations to get to before the first game. They get their new uniforms, some “World Series swag” for making it there, take team photos, meet the other teams and much more. This would be an experience they would never forget.
Columbus started pool play against Latin America on Sunday, July 28. Columbus would win Game 1 19-1. Columbus had 14 hits, which include 3 HR’s (2 Madyson Carter, 1 Molly Olivarez). Columbus kept the hot bats rolling the next day on a 13-2 win over Europe-Africa.
Columbus did one better than the previous game with 15 total hits, which include a HR by Olivarez. Game three of Pool Play was against a tough East Team. Luckily, in pool play a team can have an off game and still be OK.
Columbus would lose that game 5-1. The one lone run came from another HR by Carter.
Game four of pool play would determine the No.1 Seed in Pool B. With a win over West, Columbus would have the No.1 Seed going into single elimination bracket play. The girl’s bats were hot again against West. Columbus went up 7-0 after three innings and never looked back. Isabel Kainer hit her first career HR in the impressive win.
Columbus was now 3-1 in Pool Play and T1st. They won the tiebreaker due to them allowing the least runs scored on them in their Pool Play Games (7). Mayson Post and Karlee Mathis were the only two pitchers who appeared in all pool games. Post was 2-0 and Mathis was 1-1.
Single Elimination Bracket Play started on Thursday, Aug. 1 against Washington District 9 (Host Team) Columbus was down quick 4-0, and then it was like a switch turned on. They knew the opportunity they had and were not going to be denied.
Their bats woke up and they quickly turned a 4-0 deficit into an 8-4 win.
The win advanced Columbus into the Semi-Finals against Central. Central was a great team who was in the World Series in 2018. This was going to be the toughest test Columbus had all year.
Central scored first in the fourth inning, but Columbus answered back with four runs in the same inning. Central made a charge in the sixth, and were only down by one in the last inning. Columbus stayed strong and held them in the seventh.
Columbus beat Central 4-3 to advance to the World Series Championship Game.
Mayson Post pitched a phenomenal game. She had a complete game win with 6k’s. Columbus would take on Southeast for the World Series Championship on Saturday, Aug. 3. Columbus got on the board first with a solo HR by Post (first career HR). They would go ahead 5-0 after three and a half innings.
Southeast answered back with three of their own runs in the bottom of the fourth. Columbus was ahead 6-3 going into the bottom of the seventh. Southeast was able to put the bat on the ball and a gutsy call by Southeast’s coach with a bunt on two strikes led to their eventual 7-6 win over Columbus.
Even though the loss is tough, there were so many positives out of this trip to the World Series for this team. These young ladies went 5-2 in the World Series and made it to the Championship Game. That is something no Columbus Softball Team has ever done before. (2013 Team went 3-4 and was T5) They showed the world that a little town of less than 4,000 people can produce a softball team to compete with teams who have considerably larger populations to pick from.
This team had a community 100 percent backing them. The community was following every game from their phones, televisions, computers and watch parties, including the massive one for the championship game at Blake Street.
Last but not least, the amount of support that was there in person. Over 80 people (not including players and coaches) were in Kirkland rooting this team on. Columbus had more fans at their games than the host team did.
Del Gay was 11-22 and Kenzie Heffley was 11-23
Molly Olivarez had 11 RBI’s