Spokane Villains win 16U NSA World Series
By Lisa Knight
RENO, NV – The intensity level was high as the Spokane, Washington Villains competed against the aggressive Carson City, Nevada Sharks in the 16U "B" championship game of the NSA World Series on July 18. "It's really fun," said Villains pitcher, Erika Santarossa. "But it felt nice to come and win."
Both the Sharks and Villains had great defensive plays and the pitchers were strong in the mound, but perhaps Spokane's stuffed-monkey was the good luck charm that gave them the win. Erika said bringing the monkey and taping it to the dugout during every game at first started out as a joke. "My dad [assistant coach] is deathly afraid of monkeys," Erika said. After the Villains started winning games, the monkey stayed. Erika contributes most of the team's success to their efforts on the field and the chanting in the dugout.
Umpire in Chief and Tournament director, John Vecs, has been officiating softball on and off for 30 years. This was the first time the NSA World Series has been in Reno, although the tournament has been held in various areas on the west coast since 2001. Vecs commented on the new Golden Eagle Park facility. "The girls have really liked it," he said. "The teams have been very competitive;" and with the turf fields, Vecs said, "the fast teams are faster."
The first few innings of the 16U "B" championships started out slow but Vecs was right when he said the girls were fast. Erika didn't allow anyone on base in the top of the first inning and in the bottom, the Villains had a manufactured run starting with a bunt allowing teammate Rachel Head to steal second and third base. Finally a walk allowed Rachel to score. In the second inning, the Sharks were down by one until the Villains missed covering first when a strategized bunt from the Sharks allowed a runner to score.
The Sharks' game started looking up in the top of the third when Lisa Yamamoto hit one out to left field to make it to first base and Elayna Shine blasted one out to right field for an inside-the park-homerun. The Sharks couldn't hold it together after the third inning though, when the girls started fumbling the ball out in the field and not calling the ball caused a collision near the end of the game.
After a delay because of scoreboard issues, the Villains took the number one spot ending with a score of 11-3. Spokane ended the season with an NSA World Series win and Erika congratulated the Villains with, "There was a really big team effort and everyone put in their part"…including the monkey.
The rest of the World Series tournament took place all over Northern Nevada including Gardnerville and Carson City. The Paradise Bobcats held up really well in the 18U division considering their hometown of Paradise, California was going through a series of fires and some of the families from the team had evacuated their homes. It was worth it though to forget their troubles and compete in the tournament because the Paradise Bobcats ended up taking the title with a 16-8 win in an "if" game over the Bruins from Nevada. In the first championship game the Paradise Bobcats beat the Bruins 4-3.
The 14A division saw Yucaipa Pass Dynasty stomp Valley Heat Red for a 10-5 win and the championship title. East County Hot Shots had a real close game against Liberty Fastpitch in the "if" game of the 14B division. East County just beat Liberty 8-7 after they had lost to them the game before, 4-3.
Rocklin Hype had a terrific win in the 12B division against Easy Bay Vipers 11-2.
And for the 10A division, the Acers just barely won, 7-6, against East County Hot Shots.
Finally, in the 10B division, the Carson Valley Hot Shots won 5-4 against Tracy Titans in the "if" game after they beat them earlier 6-5.