Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Softball: Butterfield Guts It Out at PGF 14U Platinum Finals (8/4/18)

Northwest Bullets-Rice defeated OC Batbusters-Garcia, 7-1, to win the 2018 PGF 14U Platinum national championship. Photo/Mike Martinez.

By MICHAEL J. MARTINEZ

Northwest Bullets-Rice delivered a solid all-around performance and won in six innings over OC Batbusters-Garcia, 7-1, to capture the PGF 14U Platinum national championship on Saturday morning at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.

Dana Butterfield of Northwest Bullets-Rice. Photo/Mike Martinez.

After the Bullets erased a 9-2 deficit in their semifinal win over Universal Fastpitch on Friday, Saturday’s win completed a somewhat unexpected, undefeated run this week after a summer of injuries and roster changes.

“Our whole 14U division has gone through injuries, not having enough people to play, so we’ve had to combine both our (14U) teams,” Bullets coach Kayla Rice said. “But the team really gelled and came together this week and played the best ball they have.

“Being a So Cal kid (from Oak Park in Ventura County), I know the Batbusters program well. They played us in the fall and beat us, but I knew we were a completely different team. If we eliminated the errors, I knew we’d be fine.”

Dana Butterfield pitched all six innings for the win, allowing four hits and one run. Butterfield didn’t strike out any batters and walked one. Butterfield was also one of the Bullets to play through injury. She pitched all week at PGF with a left hip strain.

“During warm-ups I always try to figure out (how the injury feels),” Butterfield said. “But I just realized it’s our last game today, just put it all out there, there’s nothing to lose.”

The Bullets’ offense scored in four of their five at-bats and chased each of the two Batbuster pitchers.

“Our offense has been working all summer,” Rice said. “That has been our (best) consistency. Our offense has been on fire all summer.”

Taylor Ebbs started the ball rolling in the first inning, leading the frame with a walk. Delaney Keith drove in Ebbs for the early 1-0 Bullets’ lead.

The Batbusters answered immediately in the second with Jayden Stern driving in Lana Mooney for a 1-1 tie.

The Batbusters defense kept the game tied in the bottom of the second inning. Hannah Coor made a perfect throw from center field to get Ava Sin at the plate and end the frame.

That was the only time the Bullets were stopped in the game and the Batbusters’ defense committed crucial errors the next Bullet at-bat.

An E-4 loaded the bases with one out and chased Anna Bjorklund. Kam Dacus singled in Mary Fogg to break the 1-1 tie.

“I just wanted to square one up,” Dacus said of her at-bat.

Pinch hitter Sophia Honse next hit a sacrifice-fly to right to bring in Keith. Abby Jankay and Dacus advanced on the throw home and when Batbusters catcher Kaylyn Hill tried to get Dacus at second base, only the center fielder was attempting to cover second and the throw sailed past her all the way to the fence in center, bringing around Jankay and Dacus to make it 5-1.

“The ball went all the way through their cut-(off) to the fence,” Dacus said, “and I just kept going.”

It was at that time when Butterfield was settling in. She retired six straight in the middle of the game, part of a stretch of 9 out of 11 and 10 out of 12 after the Batbusters had tied it in the second inning.

“I just kept remembering, ‘One pitch at a time. Go slow, one pitch at a time. One hundred percent of my best,'” Butterfield said, “and I let my defense behind me, help me.”

“There’s been times we had to pull (Butterfield) out of games (this summer) because she was hurt,” Rice said. “But today was just the last game and we told her, ‘Get through it, do whatever you have to do because we need you.’ She did and pitched a heck of a game.”


PGF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS


SATURDAY, AUG. 4, RESULTS


16U PREMIER


Birmingham Thunderbolts-Dorsett 4, Athletics-Mercado 1


14U PREMIER


Corona Angels-Tyson 9, Sorcerer-Schroll 2


16U PLATINUM


Tampa Mustangs-Walford 5, Breakers Labs Blue 2


14U PLATINUM


Northwest Bullets-Rice 7, OC Batbusters-Garcia 1

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