July 16, 2009
Tim Frasher believed in his Columbus Crush softball players the moment the team came together.
But Frasher, who coaches the 10-and-under slow-pitch all-star team, never thought his team would do what it has this summer.
The Crush swept four games last weekend in the Amateur Softball Association slow-pitch state tournament to win another championship.
The victories pushed the Crush''s record to 11-0, and helped them add another title to the ones they have captured from the State Games of Mississippi and the USSSA state tournament.
"I wasn''t expecting this when we first started playing," Frasher said. "This has just grown and grown and grown, and we are just playing really good together. They don''t complain or argue with each other and they pick each other up. If a girl gets intentionally walked, the rest of the team rallies behind them and it makes them want to hit the ball better."
Frasher said the team delivered a solid all-around effort as it again faced opponents that opted to intentionally walk Ashley Miller and Megan Peoples, the team''s No. 4 and No. 5 hitters.
Frasher said the Crush have faced that strategy all season, but they responded particularly well in victories against 24/7 Softball (Amory),
the Lady Bulldogs (Enterprise), Clarksdale, and in a 20-5 victory against Sports Country (Booneville/Tupelo) on Saturday night.
"They played extremely hard," Frasher said. "(Miller and Peoples) got intentionally walked and the whole team rallied behind them and picked up their slack and came out wide open."
The latest title gives the Crush plenty of momentum as it prepares for its first games Friday in the USSSA World Series in Tupelo. The team will face Meineke Car Care (Tupelo) at 10 a.m. and the Lady Bulldogs (Enterprise) at 4 p.m. Friday. The double-elimination portion of the nine-team tournament (eight teams from Mississippi, one from Louisiana) will start Saturday.
Frasher is confident his players will be able to respond this weekend and will be able to continue to play at a high level.
"Every game we have played the girls have stepped up and really put their best foot forward and played extremely well no matter what the situation," Frasher said "In one of the games Saturday, the other team scored four or five runs to start off and it never fazed them. They came right back out and started hitting the ball. They never thought, ''Oh, we''re behind.'' They came right out and swung the bats."
Despite all of the success, Frasher admits the players'' ability to come together and play so well has surprised him.
"At the start of the season if you had told me we would be 11-0 I would have said you''re crazy," Frasher said. "I knew we had a pretty good team, but I wish I knew (how we were doing it) because I would keep it going for years and years. I don''t really know why it all has clicked this year."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.