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The Thornton players on the Colorado Angels 12-years-old and under softball team won the key games and finished second in their age group’s championship tournament at the June 23-25 Firecracker Tournament sponsored by the Arvada Girls Softball Association.
The Angels were among the 92 teams in five age groups ranging from 10-year-olds to 18-year-olds. Action in the three-day tournament was spread over four sites around Jefferson County.
Each age group was divided into four-team for round-robin play. A team’s pool play record determined its seeding in the single-elimination championship tournament in each age group.
The Angels raised their pool play record to 2-1 on June 24 when they scored an 8-7 come-from-behind win June 24 over Brighton.
“This team is special because they never quit, they never quit fighting,” Angels Coach Dawn Gaffin, who is also the Legacy High School softball coach, said after the game. “Coaching the young girls is fun. They are so enthusiastic and they really love to get out there and have fun playing softball.”
She said the Angels play good defense, they have strong pitching, they swing the bats well and they always look to rally to win games.
That proved to be true in the June 24 game after the Brighton team jumped out to a lead.
In that game, the Angels pitchers took a short time to find the strike zone and gave up some early runs. But the pitchers settled down as Khloe Kubitschek and Coco Vallon shared the mound duties while their teammates backed them with good fielding plays and they hit the ball hard and often.
Cayla Bowen had a key hit and Danika Selders provided part of the offensive punch when she blasted a triple that drove in a pair of runs as the Angels won the game 8-7.
The Angels did it again in the June 25 tournament quarterfinal game against Cyclones North.
“When we came to bat for the last time, the other team was ahead 7-6,” Coach Gaffin said. “We got a girl on base and then Danika Selders hit a walk-off homer to win the game for us.”
The Angels finished the tournament with a 3-3 record as they lost the age group championship to Inferno 25.
Legacy High School graduate Kelly Kubitschek coached the team last year and was coaching the team this year until she was transferred to Phoenix.
“When I was transferred, I went to my mentor and my former high school coach Dawn Gaffin and asked her to take over the team,” she said. “She said yes and it is great to have her coaching the girls. I just happened to be in town this weekend so it is a little like old times working with Dawn and the girls.”
Kubitscheck said the Angels are made up of girls from Thornton and Northglenn.
“Most of our girls are 11-year-olds and 12-year-olds,” she said. “We do have a couple 10-year-olds who are growing with our team. We have good talent but the strength of the team is its unity. They are a sisterhood.”
The Angels played in the Firecracker Tournament, an annual event sponsored by the Arvada Girls Softball Association.
Staci Kahn, an association board member, said this is the 17 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.”
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