The Alameda Blaze 12U tournament team traveled to Hayward the weekend of June 25-26 and came away with their second championship trophy of the season.
The Hayward tournament was a double elimination affair, and the Blaze ran the table through the winner’s bracket, winning two games on Saturday and two on Sunday.
Saturday Game 1: Blaze v. Livermore Smokes
The Blaze got off to a 3-1 start after two innings and held on for a tightly played 6-3 victory. The story of this game was solid defense. Behind the steady, four-strikeout pitching of Lily Wilmot, the entire team stepped up with key defensive plays.
In the first, Alexis Esparza and Sarah Mahler make good plays on solidly hit ground balls to second and third, respectively, to keep the Smoke off the board.
In the third, Tatianna Kelly and Victoria Avery snared tough line drives to thwart another Smoke scoring threat. In the fourth, catcher Bella Sheel threw a runner out on a sacrifice bunt attempt, while Esparza made a sure-handed grab of a tough ground ball. On the offensive side, Meida Tautalatasi, Ruby Siltanen, Kelly, Wilmot and Sheel all had two-hit games.
Saturday Game 2: Blaze v. Pleasanton Phantom
A five-run third inning propelled the Blaze to a 9-5 victory over a very good Phantom squad. Key hits in the inning included a one-out single by Tautalatasi, who came around to score, a booming triple by Kelly that scored two runs and a bases-loaded double by Sheel to score three runs.
Ruby Siltanen provided strong pitching, and the Blaze defense limited the Phantom to just one run in each scoring inning. Cassie Lumpkin made the defensive play of the weekend, coming in and to her right to make an ankle-high grab of a twisting shot to right field.
Sunday Game 1: Blaze v. Castro Valley Synergy
The Blaze parlayed two runs in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings into a 6-2 victory over the Synergy. In the third, Kelly started a two-out rally with a double to left-center, came home when Esparza reached on an error, and Esparza scored when Wilmot singled her home. In the fourth, Tautalatasi doubled, Siltanen singled her home, stole second, and then scored on Kelly’s RBI single.
In the fifth, Wilmot scored on a single by Maura Willow. Then Aliza Newman started a second rally with a two-out walk, and scored when Avery was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Sunday Game 2: Blaze v. Castro Valley Synergy
While the early games were close, the championship was not, as the Blaze beat a tired Synergy team 10-1. Siltanen was outstanding with her pitching, throwing a total of 9 pitches for the third and fourth innings.
The Blaze put up six runs in the fourth to cement the victory. Tautalatasi, Siltanen and Avery opened the fourth with three consecutive hits, and Sheel, Willow and Newman each reached base to drive in the final two runs.