By Kate Campbell
The Albany-Berkeley Girls Softball League’s 12U travel team, Sting, won the final 2012 summer season tournament. You may remember the team from the article Michael Lewis wrote for Berkeleyside last year. We’ve been following their progress. Here’s the latest installment:
Facing a field of eight other teams, none of whom they had yet played this season, the Sting team had strong pitching, was on fire with their hitting and solid in their fielding. Their batting lineup started slow on Saturday, narrowly losing their first game on Saturday to the San Bruno Storm 8-7. Despite 14-3 and 7-2 wins in their other games, they were seeded a dark horse fifth on Sunday. Ironically, in single elimination Sunday they again matched up against the San Bruno Storm, and this time they shut them out 2-0 in seven innings, with Robyn Wampler pitching a perfect game.
Sting was definitely one of the teams to beat on the B team softball circuit this summer. This was their third tournament win out of the five tournaments they played for the season. Beyond the wins, though, the team was known for the teamwork, camaraderie and positive attitude that characterized both practices and tournament competition.
At the Rohnert Park Rebel Classic over the July 21-22 weekend, particular highlights for the team included Wampler’s perfect game against the San Bruno Storm, and the team’s 11-1 pummeling of the Santa Rosa Hackers in the semi-finals. The Hackers were seeded first after an undefeated Saturday and the championship was widely viewed as theirs to lose on Sunday. More importantly for Sting, though, the Hackers had beaten them in the 2011 Rebel Classic championship game, so they had a score to settle.
After beating the Hackers to advance to the championship game, Sting batted rings around the Petaluma Steal Breeze for a 12-0 shutout, and ended the Sunday competition with 23 runs scored and only 1 run allowed. It brought to mind a common softball cheer: “You gotta score to win, you gotta run to score, you gotta hit to run, so let’s hit!”
And hit they did. Wampler’s pitching, cool and focused, led the Sting defense, but Isabel Lavrov’s hitting led the entire lineup to offensive domination. On Saturday, Lavrov had one home run, four doubles, three singles, one walk, and one fly out. Sunday, she dominated again, with another home run, five doubles, four singles and three caught pop flies to the outfield.
Every member of the team played strongly for the weekend, with solid hitting and fielding errors few and far between. On Sunday, Claire Kaneko made a spectacular diving sideways catch of a low fly from first base against the Storm, and hit five singles over the course of the day, with five RBIs. Every batter got on base in the semi-final game against the Hackers In the championship game, Quinn Lewis had a key base hit with two RBIs in the championship game that psychologically shifted the game from a simple Sting lead to a likely Sting win. Both Lavrov and Wampler deservedly left the tournament with not one but two trophies: Lavrov was awarded the Most Valuable Hitter award, and Wampler the Most Valuable Pitcher award.
Coaches Zoe Oliver-Grey and Kelsey Murakami made sure every player stood at the plate in the final game. Maeve Gallagher, Adi Saaf, Aida Baron and Erin Shurtz hit two singles apiece; Robyn Wampler, Quinn Lewis and Griffin Campbell each drew a walk; Zinnia Thewlis laid her bat on the ball, Jessica Kelly sacrifice bunted, and Hannah Lane-Goldstein snuck on first base on a dropped third strike.
Overall, the team is developing a reputation as a tough team to beat…so stay tuned! Sting’s fall season begins in September.
Berkeley-Albany softball team wins last-chance tournament [06.26.12]
Sting softball league wins first tournament of the year [06.18.12]
Hits, put-outs and a Garbanzo tournament victory [05.03.12]
Michael Lewis: After Moneyball comes softball [12.15.11]