BY DON SCHATZEL, NEWS-LEDGER COLUMNIST
The Girls of Summer!
“Congratulations” doesn’t say enough to the West Sacramento Girls Softball Little League team from West Sac, all 100% of them, and they are the 2013, state of California, Northern California champions!
The team was brilliantly coached by Adam Medina, Javier Cano and Troy Hensley.
The players are Vanessa Hensley, Claudia Medina, Laura Garcia, Jessica Baum, Chloe Kitchens,Reyna Sandoval,Mari Cano, Lilly Adversalo, Julie Chand, Viviana Dazo, Amaya Pantega,Isabella Mendez, Hailey Luna.
Their journey started in North Natomas in the Disrtict 6 Tournament. Rio Linda and North Natomas both know the championship road goes through West Sac, and the West Sacramento girls demonstrated that once again by winning the District 6 Championship.
Then it was on to the sectionals in Marysville. The good news was that the games were at 8 p.m., and not in the heat of the night. The bad was that by the time everyone got home, and coaches were no doubt replaying every pitch of the game in their minds, sleep came between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. You can’t be a zombie at work because you coached a softball game, so the stress on coaches is pretty high – but winning cures all!
West Sac had to defeat Olivehurst Linda twice once in the semifinals and once in the finals to win the section banner. In hindsight O.L. did West Sac a favor with great pitching, defense and hitting, providing the competition we needed to prepare our budding hampions for the state tournament in Martinez.
West Sac teams have been in Martinez before. The home team there has won four state titles in the last few years, and when Martinez is not winning, it seems like Gilroy is. Both were in this year’s tournament.
West Sac brought a perfect blend of speed, hitting, defense and pitching, defeating Gilroy 12-0 in pool play and then facing Martinez in the semi finals.
Three West Sac pitchers struck out 10 Martinez hitters. Pitchers Vanessa Hensley, Hailey Luna and Claudia Medina mixed in a fastball with a great changeup to help lead in a 7-2 win.
Hayley Luna had three triples and Vanessa Hensley also had a triple.
Martinez was baffled:
“Do we play in for the bunt and risk them hitting over our heads, or do we play back and let Claudia Medina and Laura Garci?”
Then came the championship game versus our old friends from Gilroy.
Claudia Medina singled in the first inning. then Vanessa Hensley singled, Reyna Sandoval singled and Hayley Luna continued her hitting rampage with a double. Chloe Kitchens singled and West Sac was ahead 3-0.
Hayley Luna added a two-run homer and struck out nine Gilroy hitters. Mari Cano added a booming triple! Gilroy managed only 2 hits. It was great fun watching them play and represent our community with such style, excellence and sportsmanship.
West Sac won 15-1 after five innings. The victory was called early, due to the “mercy rule” invoked by the huge lead. West Sacramento’s All Stars and were crowned as state champions.
Southern California has a champion team too, but at this age level the two champs don’t play each other.
The “Girls of Summer”: what a great accomplishment.
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