Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Hotshots, Mojo Advance to PGF 12U National Title Game (7/26/18)

Diamond Sports Hotshots-Jones from left to right: Sa’Mya Jones, Maddox McKee and Ava Brown. Photo/Mike Martinez.

By MICHAEL J. MARTINEZ

Behind the ace pitching of Ava Brown and Sa’Mya Jones, Diamond Sports Hotshots-Jones won a grinder, 3-2, over OC Batbusters-Mascarenas, 3-2, in the semifinals of PGF 12U Premier Nationals on Thursday at Harvard Park in Irvine.

The win kept the Hotshots undefeated through the winner’s bracket and advances them to the 12U Premier championship against the Tennessee Mojo on Friday at 11:30 a.m. at Barber Park in Irvine.

“We knew we were going to fight to the very end,” said starting pitcher/first baseman Ava Parker. “Whether it meant playing one game or two, we knew who the Batbusters are and knew we had to be on our ‘A’ game.”

Brown struck out four in her six innings. Jones came on in the seventh to close it out and, after a leadoff single, got a big pop up on a bunt attempt that turned into a double play.

“When we saw that bunt, I saw my third-baseman coming up and I was like, ‘throw her out, throw her out at first,'” Hotshots coach Steve Jones said.

“They’re studs,” Jones said of his two pitchers. “Those two together, it’s just a beauty to have because there’s times one might be laboring after 5, 6, 7 innings, especially in this heat. It’s nice to look down in the dugout and know I’m not gonna lose anything if I swap them out.”

Brown and Jones were able to outduel Ella Parker, who went the distance, striking out eight, allowing five hits and three runs, two of which were unearned.

Maddox McKee had four of the Hotshots’ five hits. Mariah Polar and Jones had Hotshots’ two RBI. There other run came in on an error.

“When you find holes,” McKee said, “you have to use them and I was able to.”

Tenneessee Mojo-Danley rolled through another opponent on their way to another PGF title game appearance, eliminating Texas Intensity-Cain, 9-1, in five innings in the other semifinal.

This 2023 Mojo team has several players who won PGF national title at 10U just two years ago.

“We were here and won it two years ago,” starting pitcher Mack Huddleston said, “and I’m planning on winning it this year, too.”

Kaitlyn Spencer of Tennessee Mojo. Photo/Mike Martinez.

Tennessee was a force throughout the bracket, scoring at least six runs in all but one game. Only the Birmingham Thunderbolts put a threat to Mojo’s undefeated run this week. In the third bracket game, Mojo needed two runs in the fifth inning for a 2-1 win.

“We came out knowing we could compete with some of the best,” Mojo coach Michael Danley said. “Our pitching and defense has been pretty good all year, but we had to swing the bats.”

And did they swing those bats this week. Mojo had players throughout the lineup have big games. Against Intensity, 7-hole hitter Kaitlyn Spencer had three RBI. Her first hit, a two-run double touched off a seven-run second-inning rally.

“I was just focused on staying short to the ball and getting my barrel out on it,” Spencer said.

Huddleston pitched four innings of shutout ball for the win, striking our four, allowing five hits.


In other Winner’s Bracket games:


Makayla Huddleston of Tennessee Mojo. Photo/Mike Martinez.

Diamond Sports Hotshots-Jones 6, Texas Intensity-Cain 1: On both sides of the ball, the pitcher-catcher combo of Jones and Paris Kimble proved too much as the Hotshots took care of Texas Intensity.

Jones had three hits and scored once and Kimble had two hits and knocked in one. As a battery, Jones throwing to Kimble held Intensity to four total hits and one run.

Tennessee Mojo-Danley 8, OC Batbusters-Mascarenas 3: The teams combined for four crooked numbers, three belonging to the Mojo a win over the Batbusters.

Mojo tallied four in the third inning on three consecutive RBI at-bats from Anna Roman, Ashtyn Danley and Huddleston. Mojo then added two in the fourth for a 6-0 lead.

Danley pitched 6.1 innings, striking out nine Batbusters and allowing just three hits. She also paced the offense with three RBI. Huddleston and Delacia DeLeslin each knocked in another two, and Roman had three hits.


In Loser’s Bracket games:


Texas Intensity-Cain 10, Corona Angels-Rogers 6: Trailing 1-0 in the first inning, the Intensity opened up with an eight-run effort that was enough to carry them past the Angels. Intensity knocked six hits, also getting two walks and an error to put up the big number in the first.

The Angels made things interesting in the fourth as they faced the prospect of the mercy rule, but responded with a four-run inning.

Makenzie Bohannon pitched well into the fourth inning for Intensity before needing help from Emily Delgado, who has been the workhorse this week. She recorded four outs before handing off to Veronica Harrison for the last two frames.

OC Batbusters-Mascarenas 4, Georgia Impact-Lewis 3: The Impact again rallied in the late innings. This time however, the other team had the last at-bat as the Batbusters walked off on a sacrifice fly by Emily Schlepp, who drove in two of her team’s runs.

The Batbusters led 3-0 before the Impact came back with two in the fifth and one in the seventh inning. Parker came on in relief to get the last five outs and notch the win, holding the game tied with runners on base in the seventh.


PGF NATIONALS 12U PREMIER SCOREBOARD


WINNER’S BRACKET A


DS Hotshots-Jones 6, Texas Intensity-Cain 1


WINNER’S BRACKET B


Tennessee Mojo-Danley 8, OC Batbusters-Mascarenas 3


LOSER’S BRACKET A


FIFTH ROUND


So Cal Breakers 4, Explosion 3

Corona Angels-Rogers 7, Courage 4


SIXTH ROUND


Texas Blaze-Slimp 8, So Cal Breakers 2

Corona Angels-Rogers 6, Athletics-Medina/Briggs 5


SEVENTH ROUND


Corona Angels-Rogers 9, Texas Blaze-Slimp 1 (5)


EIGHTH ROUND


Texas Intensity-Cain 10, Corona Angels-Rogers 6


LOSER’S BRACKET B


FIFTH ROUND


Universal Fastpitch 6, A’s-Mercado/Hovermale 5

Birmingham Bolts-Cahalan 14, Ohana Tigers-Quarles 0


SIXTH ROUND


Georgia Impact-Lewis 10, Universal Fastpitch 0

Birmingham Bolts-Cahalan 3, Beverly Bandits-Yates 2


SEVENTH ROUND


Georgia Impact-Lewis 5, Birmingham Bolts-Cahalan 4


EIGHTH ROUND


OC Batbusters-Mascarenas 4, Georgia Impact-Lewis 3


SEMIFINALS


DS Hotshots-Jones 3, OC Batbusters-Mascarenas 2

Tennessee Mojo-Danley 9, Texas Intensity-Cain 1 (5)

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