Softball All-Stars Win State
• The future of softball on the Peninsula looks big and bright with All-Star teams racking up major tournament wins.
Three Palos Verdes Girls Softball all-star teams made history this summer by advancing to the California State Tournament round. This year marked the first time Palos Verdes had all three age groups (8U, 10U and 12U) make it to State. The 12U team, in particular, had a phenomenal summer, playing more than 30 games and advancing all the way to the Western Nationals.
The respective all-star teams were selected based on their regular season performance, skills, sportsmanship, and an all-star tryout.
For softball, the all-star tournament setup differs from Little League baseball. The early part of the softball all-star season is comprised of multiple invitational tournaments, none of which automatically grant entry into another round. The point of this is to allow teams to play more games before facing elimination. Then, teams begin to play double-elimination tournaments, with teams continuing to advance from districts to states, and eventually to Western Nationals.
For the first time ever, all three Palos Verdes softball teams made it through Districts into States. The 12U team went the furthest, making it all the way to Western Nationals. Overall, the team went 28-5, outscoring their opponents by 229 runs along the way.
The team batted for an astounding .453 average and stole 145 bases. In addition to their offense, pitching held their opponents to a .243 batting average.
The team went undefeated in Districts, defeating North Torrance in the championship game. They also went unscathed in States, going 7-0 and defeating Aliso Viejo for the championship. The team was eliminated in Western Nationals, with their final loss coming to eventual runners-up San Clemente.
“It took a special group of girls to make this incredible run of softball happen,” said manager Kendall Benton. “A few things made this team special. We had a group of girls that were serious athletes. Not just softball players, but athletic, fast, smart players who could do a ton of things.” He went on, “But, what made this team unique is that this group of girls truly defines teamwork. Each player made huge contributions, each had their moments to shine, and each player played in every single game. Most importantly, they played for each other.”
Considering the fact that this group of girls had to go through the COVID-19 pandemic in the midst of their young softball careers makes this feat even more remarkable.
Benton added, “I’m proud of the work these girls have put in. It really started in earnest during the COVID lockdowns when we could only really train (and not play games). These girls fell in love with the game and fell in love with being great teammates. They worked amazingly hard to go from solid softball players to absolutely amazing softball players.”
Benton concluded, “I’m proud of their fun on the field. I’ve never seen a team have so much fun around each other, picking each other up, and playing for each other. I had heard about teams like that–and had a few ones that were close. But this one stands above the rest.”