SAN DIEGO — One month ago six youth all-star softball teams from Paso Robles and Templeton, ranging from 8U up to 12U, hit the road to play in their Central California USA Softball Association Championship (CCUSA) tournament’s in an attempt to punch their ticket to the Cal State Games which took place this past weekend in San Diego. The Cal State Games is the biggest youth all-star softball tournament in the State and gathers all the best softball teams from California, Nevada and Arizona to compete for the crown. The tournament mixes the teams into three different divisions based on the size of the cities and programs they come from meaning the Bearcats and Eagles were competing against other teams, usually, of similar size and demographics.
Of the six teams that qualified only five made the trip South, the 8U Eagles were already fully enjoying their summer break, and of those five only one team made it as far as the quarterfinals and that was the 10U Eagles. The team is made up of 12 girls: Gabriela Barroso, Violet D’Orazio-Lelli, Ella Feliz, Sierra Fiorenza, Ayla Gillett, Emma Jeffers, Hazel Loftus, Layla Petway, Cadence Savoy, Kiley Sudbrink, Reese Takigawa and four coaches in Mercedes Petway, Michael Sudbrink, Claude Loftus with head coach Rob Takigawa.
While the girls took fifth overall after losing in the quarterfinals they really have a claim to third place as both of their losses came to the two teams that played in the championship. The 10U all-star Eagles opened up the Cal State Games with their first pool play game against San Mateo which came down to the wire. Heading into the fifth and final frame the Eagles were tied 4-4 and won via a walk-off single that sent them into their second game almost delirious with excitement.
“Getting that first win was more than they ever expected,” Takigawa said. “So they went into that second game against Pico fairly relaxed and confident that they could win.”
In their second pool play game the girls came up against a team from Pico and lost handily to the team that would eventually take second place but the split in pool play games was enough to advance them into bracket play where they drew West Sacramento. Templeton started slow against Sacramento and then erupted in the later innings for a come from behind 10-6 victory that punched their ticket into the quarterfinals. Next up our Templeton team of all-stars faced off against Bonita Valley, the eventual champions, and could not keep up with their offensive output falling 7-1.
Unlike Templeton that had somewhere between 15-20 girls trying out for their all-star team this summer the Bonita Valley program reportedly had over 300 girls come out as they put teams in each of the A, B and C divisions.
The Cal State Games is generally the last tournament of the year for local teams who will now take the rest of the summer off or begin preparing for their fall sports.