The Texas Glory and Texas Blaze United, competing in the 18u Division of the Triple Crown Super Cup, both hail from the Lone Star State. When they faced off Saturday morning at Allen Station Park, the gap on the field was wide.
The Texas Glory, leaning on a hot start that put the team up 4-0 in the first inning, outclassed the Blaze on the way to a 12-0 victory. The game was called early after four frames of softball.
The win itself certainly did not come as a surprise given how the weekend has gone for the team so far. The Glory racked up three victories on Friday over the Gametime Premier, Impact Gold and Texas Blaze Gold. One of those victories, against the Impact Gold, came by just one run, while the Glory knocked back the other two clubs by five runs each.
Four victories in four games this weekend have earned the Glory a spot in the championship game Saturday afternoon, where the Glory will have a rematch against Texas Blaze United.
Coach Kevin Shelton was all smiles after his club’s performance. He has seen many of his players develop with the club for years. According to Shelton, roughly half of his roster is made up of Seniors for this fall and the other half have graduated, ready to move forward with college and life in general.
Those ladies that will move on will do so come August, but right now, Shelton said, they are locked in on the here and now.
“We’re trying to teach them how to be the best humans they can be,” he said. “Part of that is not getting complacent, continuing to compete and understanding the competition. We’re looking for people who are looking to improve continuously.”
If one didn’t look at the scoreboard, they might have assumed the Glory and Blaze were locked in a battle. Players were locked in on every pitch, cheering every base hit and applauding each out recorded.
Even as the runs mounted and the Glory pushed the lead to double digits, there was no sign of a letdown.
It’s June, meaning that the seniors on the Glory from the 2021-22 school year have graduated. Their time in youth club sports is winding down. How, Shelton is often asked, do you keep the Seniors locked in?
“Juniors and sophomores,” he said with a chuckle. “They want to play,” he said of his Seniors, “and that if they don’t play well then there is someone there to take their spot. That’s college and that’s life.”
The coaching philosophy also appeared to be a club philosophy as a whole. The Glory rose to the occasion, but there was almost a business-like approach that was noticeable from players, coaches and parents alike. No demonstrative screaming, no trash talking and no excessive celebration.
A look at the Texas Glory’s website might explain why. The team’s roster is listed, and with each player is a list of their awards and accomplishments from playing at the high school and club level. The list is lengthy, to say the least.
Shelton says that his club is used to playing in high-pressure environments and that the talent speaks for itself. Several of his players, including Macie Graf and Tia Warsop, are headed to play Division I softball this fall. Graf will attend Mississippi State and Warsop will attend Oklahoma State. Both players bat at the top of the order and will play a big role in the Glory’s championship chances Saturday afternoon.
“They’re being consistent, and that’s what we need,” Shelton said. “That’s why they’re at the top of the order.”