Hotshots face strong opposition at nationals
Two Carson Valley Hotshots youth softball teams battled through some tough competition — not to mention heat and smoke-filled skies — to achieve success this past week during championship tournament play in Oregon.
The 18U Hotshots posted a 3-2 record at the USA Girls Fast Pitch National Championships in Salem, while the 12U team went 2-3 at the ASA Western Nationals in Portland.
In Salem, a young 18U Hotshots won three straight games before dropping back-to-back decisions in the 49-team tournament.
“We’re basically a 16U team that plays up,” Hotshots coach Eddie Doughty said. “We try to play against the best teams possible, and it’s worked out. The kids have gotten great exposure as far as being seen by college coaches.”
The Hotshots started well in their with a 9-5 win over the Oregon Silver Bullets during pool play on Monday. Haley Doughty hit 2-for-2, highlighted by a two-run homer in the third inning that gave the Hotshots a 7-2 lead. She drove in another run on a bunt single that ignited a four-run first inning rally. Kasey Reynolds singled in the third to set the stage for Doughty’s home run.
They came back on Tuesday to pick up a come-from-behind 7-6 win over USA Explosion-Coleman (Pendleton, Ore.). The Hotshots took a 7-5 lead when three runs scored with two outs in the third inning as Kenzie Brixey’s two-out single to right field was misplayed for an error.
On Thursday, Kettja Bennett pitched a complete game five-hit shutout to beat Blaze O’Hara (Oregon), 3-0. Bennett pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth inning and ended the game in the seventh with runners on second and third. The final out in both innings came on ground balls to Doughty at shortstop.
On Friday, the Hotshots dropped a 5-2 decision to a Wisconsin Lightning team that eventually finished in a ninth-place tie in the tournament. Brixey hit 3-for-4, Bennett 2-for-3, with an RBI single to tie the score 1-1 in the first inning, and Jailene Salciedo 2-for-3 with a double. Overall, the Hotshots collected 10 hits against pitcher Ciera Jones, who compiled a 13-1 record this spring and helped Menomonee High School reach the Wisconsin Division 1 state tournament quarterfinals.
The Hotshots were knocked out of the double elimination bracket Saturday morning with a 4-2 loss against Foothill Gold Stinson/Niccum (Sacramento area). Casey Peck slammed a two-run homer in the seventh inning and Bennett went 2-for-3 with a triple.
The weather and air quality conditions in the Pacific Northwest were far from ideal during the week.
“It was awful,” coach Doughty said. “The temperature hit 110 a couple of days and the air quality was pretty bad … there was a lot of smoke from a couple of fires up in Canada … but the city of Salem, they were on top of it. They moved some games around so the kids wouldn’t have to play in the extreme heat.”
In Portland, the 12U Hotshots finished their run in the 45-team ASA tournament Saturday with a 6-3 loss against West Valley (Woodland Hills, Calif.). Emma Stagliano hit 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored from the leadoff spot in the batting order.
Aspen Tollmann hit 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the first inning. Tollman later scored on Addy Doerr’s RBI single to give the Hotshots a 2-0 lead.
On Friday, Eva McNinch and Stagliano combined for six hits to help the Hotshots post an 8-2 win over Idaho Stealth. McNinch went 3-for-3 with a double and three RBI, while Stagliano went 3-for-5 with three runs scored.
Tollmann pitched a seven-inning complete game, allowed two runs (none earned) on five hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Neveah Kizer hit 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Ruby Jacobson 2-for-3 with one RBI.
On Thursday, the Hotshots scored five runs in the sixth inning to break up a deadlocked contest and went on to a 13-6 win over Rampage (Washington).
The Hotshots did all of their damage in that sixth inning after two outs. McNinch and Tollman hit back-to-back singles and both scored on Kizer’s base hit to right field. Stagliano also delivered an RBI single during the rally.
Stagliano hit 3-for-4 with three runs scored, Tollmann 3-for-5 with two doubles, four runs scored and two RBI and Kizer 2-for-5 with three RBI to lead the Hotshots’ 14-hit attack.
Tollmann pitched all seven innings, allowed six runs (one earned) on 11 hits to go with five strikeouts and one walk.
The Hotshots lost twice against Torrance 1 from Southern California, 8-3 and 14-6.