Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Softball: Whitley’s 16 Ks Power Impact Gold to PGF 10U Title (7/27/18)

ImpBeverly Bandits-Trackwell in the PGF 10U Premier national championship game on Friday, July 27, 2018. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

By MICHAEL J. MARTINEZ

Riley Whitley’s 16 strikeouts and a big fifth inning powered Impact Gold National-Smith to a 7-3 victory over Beverly Bandits-Trackwell in the PGF 10U Premier national championship game on Friday morning at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.

In a battle of teams that went undefeated through the winner’s bracket, the teams traded early and two Bandits’ runs in the third put Impact Gold to its first deficit of the week.

Riley Whitley of Impact Gold National-Smith. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

A pecking Impact Gold offense that counted seven hits and plenty of balls in play, took advantage of a shaky Bandits defense to tie it up by the fourth inning before breaking it open with five runs in the fifth inning.

“We were just trying to compete and win the tournament,” leadoff batter Trinitey Spencer said.

“It was a big experience,” said Impact Gold coach Gary Smith, who along with his daughter, Madison, are in their first year with Impact Gold.

“It’s a lot cooler in California. The humidity wasn’t here. We were able to play some really good ball. Pitchers were able to pitch more innings since it wasn’t so hot. Kids really stepped up. (This week) was the best we hit all season, the most runs we scored this season. We came prepared.”

Whitley helped pace the Impact Gold offense with two hits and an RBI. Lead-off hitter Spencer was on base three times with a hit and two walks, scoring twice. Two-hole hitter Brooklyn Gidley had a pair of hits and an RBI.

On the other side, the Bandits offense was all or nothing against Whitley. Featuring a rise, curve and change-up, Whitley had 10 strikeouts by the fifth inning.

As the game progressed, just making contact against Whitley proved tougher and tougher. Whitley struck out the side in order in the sixth for 14 total strikeouts.

Audrey Heiler of Beverly Bandits-Trackwell. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

Down to their last three outs, the Bandits’ top of the order loaded the bases with none out in the seventh. But Whitley found it again, surrendering just one run in the jam, getting her 15th and 16th strikeouts before fielding a comebacker for the last out.

“Win or lose, I’m happy to be on this team,” said a tired Whitley after the game. When asked if a 16-strikeout game was hard work in the 85-degree morning conditions, Whitley simply said, “Yes, sir.”

Whitley and Bandits starter Audrey Heiler both escaped trouble in the second inning, each stranding a pair of runners. Whitley did so thanks to a ranging play up the middle by second baseman Spencer.

In the top of the third, the top of the order started a rally for the Bandits. Isabella Del Real led with a solid hit to center. A hit batter and a walk loaded the bases with two outs for Brook Stang, who lined a two-run single to right to open a 2-0 lead for the Bandits.

Impact Gold answered with a run in the bottom of the third, and might have tied if not for a strong relay to the plate by Bandits second baseman Del Real, who nabbed Gidley trying to score after her own bunt hit and E-5 up the right-field line.

Impact Gold tied it, 2-2, in the fourth inning, getting a lead double to center by catcher Emma Knight and an RBI ground out by Ella Bayer.

The top of the Impact Gold order and more Bandits errors pushed Impact Gold to its first lead in the fifth inning.

Spencer led with a walk, stole second and came in on Gidley’s RBI to center to break the 2-2 tie.

The Bandits’ third error, a high throw home trying to get Spencer, put Gidley at third base and she was driven in by Laila Nobles for a 4-2 Impact lead.

Whitley and Bayer added RBIs and for the 7-2 Impact lead.


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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