Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Softball: Danley Leads Mojo To Another PGF National Title (7/27/18)

Tennessee Mojo-Danley celebrates its 1-0 win over Diamond Sports Hotshots-Jones in the PGF 12U Premier national championship game on Friday, July 27, 2018. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

By MICHAEL J. MARTINEZ

They came. They played. They conquered. Again.

Behind a one-hit shutout from Florida State-committed southpaw Ashtyn Danley Tennessee Mojo-Danley, PGF 10U Premier national champions in 2016, returned and won the PGF 12U Premier national championship with a 1-0 victory over Diamond Sports Hotshots-Jones.

“I’m just overcome with joy,” said Mojo coach Michael Danley, who is Ashtyn’s father. “These girls have fought all week long. We drew, in my opinion, the tougher side of the bracket. They had to play hard all week long. We swung the bats well this week. Then all of a sudden it was a pitchers’ duel today.”

Florida State-commit Ashtyn Danley of Tennessee Mojo-Danley. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

Ashtyn Danley, one of several returners from the 2016 title team, took a no-hit bid to two ous in the seventh inning and delivered a rally-starting base hit in the bottom of the sixth.

“I think it’s amazing, just the fight that we have,” Ashtyn Danley said. “We weren’t hitting it good throughout the game. But we got on base and Delacia came up with a timely hit.”

Asked if he could foresee a complete shutdown of the Hotshots offense, Michael Danley said, “Absolutely not. They swing the bats so well. Ashtyn hit her spots today. She made the big pitch.”

Hotshots starter Sa’Mya Jones matched Danley zero for zero for five full innings. An injury to second baseman Angelina Morales on Danley’s sixth-inning infield hit forced the Hotshots to make a lineup change, sending Jones to shortstop and bringing in fellow-ace Ava Brown to pitch.

Brown struck out Makayla Huddleston for the second out before Delacia DeLeslin stepped up. With courtesy runner Emma Potts at second after a steal, DeLeslin pulled a line drive into left field bringing in Potts with the game’s only run.

“Very nervous coming up to bat,” DeLeslin said about that big AB. “But at the same time I was just thinking barrel it up and get a hit. (After the hit) I was just so excited saying, ‘We’re gonna win this game. We got this.'”

Throughout bracket play, the Hotshots, like the Mojo, were a tough team to stop making Ashtyn Danley’s championship effort even more impressive.

Sa’Mya Jones of Diamond Sports Hotshots-Jones. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

“Staying low,” Ashtyn Danley said about her keys to victory. “They have a few girls that can swing the bat really good. So especially on them, I was trying to keep it low and we tried to keep it where they couldn’t barrel it up.”

Coach Danley credited his defense for stopping the Hotshots when daughter Ashtyn wasn’t earning her seven strikeouts. A great stop by shortstop Rose Davis halted a possible RBI hit by Jones in the first inning.

“Ashtyn found a way to get it done,” Michael Danley said. “But outside of the big pitch, look at the defensive plays we made. How many plays did they hit in the hole and our girls were positioned just right, and we were flawless.”

With another title, two questions begged to be asked. The first, what can this group do for an encore?

“To win a big tournament is amazing, don’t get me wrong,” Michael Danley said. “But we do this to play the best, because all of these girls have a dream to go play Division I softball.”

A team comprised from no fewer than seven states, the Mojo did not hold one practice all year, according to Michael Danley.

“They’re required to get their own work in,” Coach Danley said. “They understand what they need to play championship caliber softball.”

The second, what has made this Mojo team successful multiple summers over?

“The families,” Ashtyn Danley said. “Everyone is so close. The girls, we’re in it for each other. In the beginning of the year we were more selfish, but I think we just thought hard about what we wanted to accomplish. And we played for the girl next to us, not ourselves.”

“Mojo is about attitude and effort because that’s what we (emphasize),” DeLeslin said.


2018 PGF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS


PGF HIGH SCHOOL ALL-AMERICAN GAME

West 4, East 2 (West leads the all-time series, 2-1)

18U PREMIER

Georgia Impact-Lewis 6, OC Batbusters-Stith 4

12U PREMIER

Tennessee Mojo-Danley 1, Diamond Sports Hotshots-Jones 0

10U PREMIER

Impact Gold National-Smith 7, Beverly Bandits-Trackwell 3

18U PLATINUM

Firecrackers North-Thomas 7, USA Athletics Gold 0

12U PLATINUM

Cal Cruisers-Caouette 5, OC Batbusters-Garcia 4

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