Managed by Dave Carter and assisted by coaches Steve West and Bill Liu, the girls arrived ready to play ball and came out strong on Saturday, going a perfect 3-0 in pool play. Only four runs were scored against them on Saturday thanks to lock-down defense and outstanding pitching by Kalissa Heihn, Jenna Liu and Madison Saunders.
The Hot Shots’ bats provided plenty of firepower as the team rolled to victories over teams from Elk Grove, Chowchilla and Dinuba. Their hard work earned the Hot Shots the No. 1 seed for Sunday’s playoff elimination games.
Following their first-round bye, the girls faced off against the Calaveras Sliders in Sunday’s semifinal game. Both teams scored early runs but the Hot Shots blew the game open in the third inning with clutch hitting and hustle on the base paths.
After establishing the lead with their bats, the girls made it stick with solid pitching from Heihn plus defensive play from catcher Kelsey Martinez and outfielder Gianna Siino. After eliminating the Sliders 7-3, the girls faced their toughest test: Lady Liberty from Concord (also 3-0 on Saturday) in the championship game.
The Hot Shots struck first off a drag bunt by leadoff batter Allyson Ferreira, who proceeded to steal second and third, then scored on a sacrifice fly from Riley Ehlen to give the Hot Shots a immediate 1-0 lead.
Inspired pitching by Heihn and catching by Natalie Nicolosi kept the score 1-0 through the first three innings. Outstanding defense was provided by shortstop Ferreira, who made seven putouts, deftly scooping up every ball hit her way and firing over to first baseman Allyson McBroom. Second baseman Jenna Liu also contributed stifling defense to the cause.
The Hot Shots took control of the game in the fourth inning, scoring five runs off a combination of timely walks, steals and clutch hitting. The entire batting order contributed to the scoring effort and pushed the lead to 6-0. The girls finished off Lady Liberty for a final score of 6-1 and the right to take home the trophy.
“This was a total team effort, and the girls all played some great softball this weekend,” said Carter. Earning special recognition were Kalissa Heihn, who pitched outstanding games on Sunday, and shortstop Allyson Ferreira, whose stellar defense kept the opposition off the bases.
Comprising players from Brentwood, Oakley, Pittsburg, Danville and Fairfield, the 10U Hot Shots will be wrapping up their summer season at the end of July and making the move up to 12U this fall. Team tryouts will be held Aug. 7 and 13 at Magnolia Park in Oakley. For more information, check out the Hot Shots fastpitch softball website at www.hotshotsfastpitch.org.
– Contributed by Bryan Ferreira