Nat’s back with her summer team, the Alameda Blaze. Last weekend they ran into some very stiff competition in Stockton – 28 teams in an A-ball tournament. Runs were scarce, defense shaky at times, pitching just OK. Turns out it was just what they needed, serving as a wake up call for the next weekend in Salinas.
The three high school girls are back (Natalie, Michelle and Gabby), morale and team chemistry are as good as ever. There were many events that people will remember about this weekend, but for my money, it belonged to Anastasia. She did deliver more than one clutch hit to drive in runs, but her defense was magnificent. Any ball hit in her direction that was not over her head was an out. Period. No infield hits went her way, like the ones Michelle slaps and legs out so regularly. Pop ups? Forget about it.
Natalie is pitching the semifinal game on Sunday. In the 6th, the NorCal Legends’ leadoff hitter delivers a double, and was sacrificed to 3rd. Knowing that a capable bunter was coming to bat, the coaches seemed ready to concede a run to get an out while preserving a 2-run lead. On a grounder hit to 3rd, Anastasia picked it clean, sold a pump fake to 1st, then turned and nailed the base runner whose momentum had led her too far from the base. That exact play was discussed in the dugout seconds before it happened, but it was agreed that we’d play it safe and get the out. Maybe Anastasia was able to hear the conversation, maybe she acted on her own. Whatever the case, it was perfectly executed and they went on to win the game and the championship game that followed.
Here’s the official write-up.