There were formidable local foes like Moorpark, Westlake-Agoura, and Goleta.
by Tom Marshall
Realistic expectations were impossible. The Ventura Girls Fastpitch 12u All Stars had previously played a handful of the 33 teams in the USA Softball Western National tournament. There were formidable local foes like Moorpark, Westlake-Agoura, and Goleta. There were also teams from San Diego, Hawaii, Oregon, and Nevada. Every one of the 33 teams invited was going there to win. Ventura’s only option was to leave everything on the field and play to win. Only one team would emerge a winner but every team had an opportunity to display their true character.
Anxiety played a part in the lead up to the tourney. A nasty wild fire was choking southern Oregon with smoke and the specter of cancelled games (possibly the entire tournament) established residence in parents and coaches’ minds on the long drive or flight north.
The 12u squad out of Ventura got their nervous disastrous inning out of the way in the first game. They looked like an early regular season rec ball team on defense at times in that first game. Their offense wouldn’t be denied and after a very rough defensive start they defeated their first opponent. They went on a 5-0 run to start the tourney and found themselves in a battle with the physically imposing Bonita Valley squad in game 6. Ventura ended up suffering a 1-0 loss in that first game against the team from San Diego county. The girls would enter the loser’s bracket for the first time in the tournament.
Facing near triple digit temps amplified by the 100% artificial turf playing surface didn’t faze the Ventura girls. They maintained their focus and regrouped. “The girls had a championship mindset all week. We were focused on winning every pitch, every game. Very proud to see this team represent Ventura,” said manager Ruben Segovia. His assistant coaches, Jeff Staniland and Angel Chavez, worked to keep the team positive and focused on winning the next pitch.
They went on to win their next two games in the loser’s bracket 6-3 and 3-0 to set up a rematch against Bonita Valley. The winner would face All Star team from Poway in the championship game. Poway was undefeated in the tournament up to that point. They put up a valiant fight but fell 3-1 in their rematch with BV.
The Ventura Girls Fastpitch 12u All Star squad finished 3rd out of 33 teams in the USA Softball Western National tournament. They left everything on the field and never gave up. Only one team wins a tournament but our Ventura girls showed up prepared to play winning softball and proved they belong with the best in the west.