Phoenix softball squad earns trophy in Park City
Teams from 12 different states (and one from Canada) competed in Park City last week at the Triple Crown 18U and 16U Fastpitch World Series tournaments.
By Saturday, though, only two champions would be crowned, one in each age group’s gold bracket.
The 18U tournament was won by the Arizona Bombers 18U Gold squad from Phoenix. The Bombers won their semifinal game against the Salt Lake Pegasus team 7-0 and shut out the Kansas City Monarchs 6-0 in the final.
The 16U tournament was won by Salt Lake City’s Firecracker UT squad. Firecracker UT won its semifinal game 5-1 over USA Explosion (Pendleton, Oregon) and defeated USA Explosion 16G (Walla Walla, Washington) 9-1 in the final.
Michael Velasco, coach of the Arizona Bombers, said he was proud of his team for earning its first major-tournament trophy.
“We’ve never won a national championship as the Arizona Bombers,” he said. “This is our first one. We’re thrilled with how the girls played — it was a pretty dominating performance.”
The Bombers went 4-0 in pool play on Tuesday and Wednesday, scoring 29 runs and allowing only eight. In tournament play, they won a game on Thursday and a game on Friday to set up Saturday’s run for the title.
Velasco said his players could sense something special once tournament play started.
“We started feeling it probably on Thursday when we won,” he said. “There was a lot of confidence and our bats were really going. We were on a roll. We were hitting the ball really well and pitching really well. We came in very confident and the girls executed.”
In Saturday’s final against the Monarchs at the Park City Sports Complex, Velasco said a quick start was the key to the Bombers’ victory.
After scoring one run in the first, the Bombers jumped out to a 4-0 lead through three innings.
“We really jumped out early and it took the wind out of their sails,” Velasco said. “It was a big win. All the credit goes to the girls. To come in [Saturday] and run-rule the first team and then shut out the second was great.”
Though the Bombers’ season is now over, Velasco said they had a great time in Park City this week playing some of the top teams in the West.
“The competition was great,” he said. “The girls all played hard and they were all very respectful and had great sportsmanship.”
The Bombers have several players who will continue their softball careers in college next year, Velasco said. Reina Bondi and Mara Kemmer will play at UNLV, Kylie King will play at Arizona and Alexis Rogers will play at Belmont Abbey.
This week, Triple Crown play continues with 9U and 12U baseball tournaments. Games will be held in Park City through Saturday, when the championships will be contested. For more information, visit http://www.triplecrownsports.com.
Steele DeWald has his life in Park City down to a routine. After some strange encounters in his 20s, he’s OK with the mundane.