The Chowchilla 12U Lightning softball team traveled to Hanford Friday to play in the ASA Associate Regionals trying to earn a birth to the Junior Olympics in San Diego. Sixteen teams came to play, eight from the Central Valley and eight from the coast, with some coming from as far as Templeton and Goleta. The Chowchilla Lightning finished in second place earning a spot in the Junior Olympics.
The Lightning faced the Nipomo Titans, beating them 9 to 1. Chowchilla jumped to a two run lead in the first inning thanks to an error and Adriana Felsinger’s single, which drove in a run. Nipomo scored in the third because of a passed ball but Chowchilla countered with three runs of their own. Lightning ended the game in the fifth by scoring four more runs thanks to Felsinger’s triple, triggering the mercy rule. Jana Pope commanded the mound, striking out seven, walking three and holding Nipomo to 1 hit.
Chowchilla faced the Goleta Storm Saturday morning. Goleta entered two teams into the event and Lightning was facing their top team. In 2013, Goleta Storm defeated Chowchilla in extra innings and eliminated them from the Junior Olympics. Lightning struck early on a costly error. Kylar Kahl sent one down first base line that the right field could not handle. Kahl and Pope both scored followed by an RBI by Sydney Alexander. Lightning added to their score in the third when Felsinger doubled, driving in the fourth run. Storm never gave up. They were able to earn one run on a deep hit to right field in the third inning and another run in the fifth when Storm got hold of a pitch and drove it deep for a home run. Chowchilla loaded the bases in the seventh, scoring Kahl on an error followed up by Felsinger’s double scoring two more giving Chowchilla a 7-2 lead. Goleta came out battling by scoring three before Lightning shut the door on them. The final score was 7 to 5.
Chowchilla faced San Luis Obispo Fusion on Sunday in the semi finals. Once more, Lightning struck early with their big bats and solid pitching. Molly Spomer doubled, scoring two while Kaylee Boyett drove in the third run. Fusion was able to score only two runs thanks to Lightning pitcher Emma Eastman who struck out 4 and walked only 1. The final score was 4 to 2.
The championship game was against Five Cities Eagles, who have won the Associate Regionals each year since 2010. Five Cities scored first with one run in the first inning and another in the second. Felsinger was able to score two on a home run, tying the game in the fourth but it wasn’t enough. Five Cities scored four runs on errors giving Chowchilla second in Regionals. The final score was 2 to 6.
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