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2023 PREMIER GIRLS FASTPITCH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – Older group of area travel softball players wrap up their summer

Aug. 2, 2023

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

IRVINE-Over 300 18-Under and 16-Under travel softball teams across the nation ended the week-long Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championship with the finals held last Friday and Saturday at Deanna Manning Stadium inside Bill Barber Park. A total of 72 teams in the 18-Under Premier Division, 80 in the 18-Under Platinum Division, 80 in the 16-Under Premier Division and 76 in the 16-Under Platinum Division played what figured to be their last travel games of the summer before heading back to their respective high schools next month, or to begin their freshman year in college.

Some of the area players who were in the biggest youth softball tournament of the summer, and their teams, enjoyed success and played well into last Thursday while others had a short-lived experience, playing in just five games (three pool play games and two games of the double elimination playoffs). Here’s a look at how those players and their teams fared in the playoffs, which began on July 24.

18-Under Premier Division

Marley Cortez (Gahr High)

(Los Alamitos) Wildcats-Weil

July 25, defeated the (Pinole) Universal Fastpitch-Tatro 5-4

July 25, defeated the (Cerritos) Ohana Tigers-Quarles 2-1

July 26, defeated the (Mission Viejo) California Cruisers 3-2

July 27, lost to the (Keizer, OR) NW Vandals-Vasas/Scott 2-1

July 27, defeated the (Murrieta) Athletics-Jendro Premier 4-0

July 27, lost to the (Forest Park, GA) Impact-Sampson/Gusaeff 10-1

Natalia Hill (Gahr High/University of Nebraska) and Rio Mendez (Gahr High/Univ. of Utah)

(Anaheim) Briggs Softball Club Bengals-Briggs  

July 25, lost to the (Moorpark) Southern California Choppers VC 12-3

July 26, defeated the (Elk Grove) Sorcerer-Bigley/Everett 7-2

July 26, defeated the (Omaha) Nebraska Gold National 1-0

July 27, defeated the (Woodland, CA) All American Sports Academy-Merrida 4-3

July 27, defeated the (Houston) Strykers-Esparza 7-1

July 27, defeated the (Redwood City) California Nuggets Gold 6-3

July 27, lost to the (Surprise) AZ Storm National-Mathis 7-0

Hill went five for 18 with a home run in the seven playoff games while Mendez went three for 18. In 32 games this summer, Hill batted .411 with 30 hits and drove in 22 runs. 

Camile Lara (Cerritos High) and Kayla Martin (Valley Christian High)

(Cerritos) Ohana Tigers-Quarles

July 25, lost to the (Los Alamitos) Wildcats-Weil 2-1

July 26, defeated the (Daphne) Alabama Thunderbolts-Sherman 3-1

July 26, defeated the (New Lenox, IL) Wildcats Chicago-JP 2-1

July 27, lost to the (Birmingham) Thunderbolts Premier 6-1

Hayley Olivas (Gahr High/Loyola Marymount University)

(Huntington Beach) Explosion Premier

July 25, lost to the TN Mojo-Danley/Fisher 5-0

July 26, defeated the Texas Blaze United 7-6

July 26, defeated the Sparks Premier 1-0

July 26, lost to the California Cruisers Gold-Sievers 2-0

In the four playoff games, Olivas had one hit, which came against the Texas Blaza United, but this summer, Olivas had .379 average with 22 hits, 16 RBI, scored 25 runs and had four home runs.

18-Under Platinum Division

Hannah Bernal (Cerritos High), Melanie Perez (La Mirada High) and Rya Rivas (Gahr High)

(Hawaiian Gardens) Wildcats-Amaya/Jacobsen

July 24, lost to the (Novato) Ohana Tigers Gold Northern California 7-6

July 25, lost to the (Telford, PA) TNT National Godard 4-3

Sienna Contreras (Norwalk High) and Catherine Quibrantar (Cerritos High)

(Downey) Ohana Tigers-Colenzo

July 24, lost to the (Phoenix) Arizona Storm-Walding 7-0

July 25, defeated the (Pasadena) California Thunder-LeVier/Milton 17-14

July 26, defeated the (Roseville) USA Premier National Team 10-4

July 26, lost to the (Mission Viejo) Lady Dukes TWW National 5-4

Quibrantar had a hit against the Cal Thunder and scored three runs while adding another one against the Lady Dukes. She also scored once in each of the last two games.

Irma Gonzalez (Artesia High)

Santa Ana Xtreme-Maquivi

July 24, lost to the (Pasadena) California Thunder-LeVier/Milton 6-0

July 25, lost to the (El Dorado Hills) Foothill Gold-Stinson 14-2

Sophia Magcale (Gahr High/University of Redlands), Hailey Sanchez (Gahr High/California State University, Northridge) and Amber Valdez (La Mirada High)

(Cerritos) Explosion-Sanchez

July 24, defeated the (Kent) WA Acers 3-2

July 25, defeated the (Mission Viejo) Lady Dukes-Watson 10-0

July 26, defeated the (Needles) AZ Bombers-Williams 6-0

July 27, lost to the (Miami) Rock Gold-Manetta/Perantoni 2-1

July 27, lost to the (Mission Viejo) Lady Dukes TWW National 4-0

The Explosion, with Gahr High head coach Rey Sanchez, were one of the quarterfinalists in the ‘B’ bracket and had a 1-0 lead against the Rock Gold after half an inning on the strength of a solo home run from Hailey Sanchez. It was one of three hits for the Explosion in the game. Later in the day, the Explosion gave up a pair of runs in the bottom of the third and sixth innings, respectively. All four runs were unearned. In the five playoff games, Hailey Sanchez went five for 15 and drove in four runs while Magcale scored three runs and drove in a run. In 27 of the 30 games played since the end of high school, Hailey Sanchez batted .455 with 30 hits, 25 RBI, 22 runs scored and hit nine home runs. She also struck out five times in 74 plate appearances. 

Alea Medina (Artesia High), Vanessa Soto (Artesia High) and Maya Torres (Artesia High)

(Lakewood) Southern California Athletics-Rivera/Blanck

July 24, lost to the (Signal Hill) USA Athletics-Mora 4-2

July 25, lost to the (Kirkland, WA) NW Grapettes 7-0

The So Cal A’s, coached by former Artesia Punishers assistants Tim Rivera and Ed Blanck, won six tournament games all summer and lost the last two pool play games, then the two playoff games. Torres went four for four while Medina and Soto each went one for four against the USA Athletics while against the NW Grapettes, Torres went two for three. In 22 tournament games since the end of high school, Torres batted a team-high .405 with 17 hits and was walked 10 times while Soto batted .357 with 15 hits and 10 RBI. Medina hit .308 with 16 hits and 13 runs scored.

16-Under Premier Division

Zoee Barrett (Valley Christian High) and Madison Morgan (Valley Christian High)

(Chino Hills) Empire Fastpitch Premier Elite

July 24, defeated the (Chattanooga, TN) Fury-Moyer/Perry 2-1

July 25, lost to the Birmingham Thunderbolts-Kemp 3-0

July 26, defeated the (Hanford) Dirtdogs-Vasquez 3-1

July 26, lost to the (Chicago) Beverly Bandits-Holloway 4-0

Larissa Flores (Gahr High)

(Garden Grove) 5 Star PlayMakers-Siofele/Mulipola

July 24, lost to the (Milwaukee) Velocity National 6-1

July 25, lost to the (Los Alamitos) Wildcats-Holcomb/Knight/Kingery 2-1

Flores went hitless against the Velocity but had a pair of hits and scored the lone run against the Wildcats. 

Peyton Kingery (Valley Christian High)

(Riverside) Briggs Softball Club Bengals-Briggs

July 24, defeated the (Cary, NC) Lady Dukes-Lamar 8-1

July 25, defeated the GA Impact-Caymol 6-3

July 26, lost to the Tampa Mustangs-Seymour 2-1

July 27, defeated the (Chicago) Beverly Bandits-Holloway/Mack 4-3

July 27, defeated the (Kane’ohe, HI) LK Black Hawaii Summer 3-1

July 27, defeated the (Phoenix) Arizona Storm National-Appel 3-2

July 27, defeated the GA Impact-Caymol 6-3

July 28, defeated the (Spotsylvania, VA) Unity-Johnson/Ross 2-0

July 28, defeated the (French Camp, CA) Sorcerer-Gann 3-0

July 28, lost to the (French Camp, CA) Sorcerer-Gann 1-0

While her dad Chet, who is a co-head coach for the Wildcats, was winning seven straight games in the loser’s bracket, Peyton Kingery was having similar success for the BSC Bengals, staying alive six straight times before falling to the Sorcerer in the “if necessary” game. Peyton Kingery played in only two playoff games and had a total of one plate appearance, which came on July 27 against the GA Impact. In 31 games since the end of high school, she batted .469 with 23 hits and 13 RBI.

Katherine Villegas (Cerritos High)

(Long Beach) USA Athletics-Rogers/Gunnar

July 24, defeated the (Los Alamitos) Wildcats-Holcomb/Knight/Kingery 4-2

July 24, lost to the (Lexington, TX) Blaze United-Robertson 9-2

July 25, lost to the (San Rafael) California Grapettes-McNair 8-0

16-Under Platinum Division

Jailynn Banda (Norwalk High) and Angelie Kennedy (La Mirada High)

(Pasadena) Firecrackers-Vines

July 24, defeated the (Los Alamitos) Wildcats-Frazier 5-0

July 24, lost to the (Riverdale) Central California Dirtdogs-Close 6-0

July 25, defeated the (Murrieta) Southern California Athletics-Marinakis/Jaquish 5-2

July 25, lost to the (Thornton) CO Stars-de Thouars 5-1

Alianna Calderon (Cerritos High)

(Covina) Wildcats-Natividad

July 24, defeated the (Las Vegas) MCLV Elite-Young 4-3

July 24, defeated the (Highlands Ranch, CO) Rocky Mountain Thunder-Swank/McAllister 11-2

July 25, lost to the (Bourbonnais) Illinois Stars-Pusateri 3-2

July 25, lost to the (The Woodlands) Texas Sudden Impact-Oglesby 5-4

Quira Castillo (La Mirada High) and Angelina Ratzlaff (La Mirada High)

(Signal Hill) USA Athletics-Rogers/Mathis

July 24, defeated the (Los Alamitos) Wildcats-Laufou/Hunter 9-0

July 24, defeated the (Phoenix) Arizona Storm-Tull 5-2

July 25, lost to the (Meridian, ID) USA Explosion-Kloczko/Brooke 8-3

July 25, defeated the (Torrance) California Cruisers-Smith 3-0

July 26, defeated the (Clemmons, NC) CC Nationals-Sars 7-0

July 26, defeated the (Bourbonnais) Illinois Stars-Pusateri 8-2

July 26, defeated the (Meridian, ID) USA Explosion-Kloczko/Brooke 5-4

July 27, defeated the (Encinitas) OTI 4-0

July 27, defeated the (Riverdale) Central California Dirtdogs-Close 7-1

July 27, lost to the (Las Vegas) Lil Rebels-Gordie/TC 7-4

Ratzlaff went 10 for 27 in the 10 playoff games with six runs scored and four RBI. Since the end of high school, Ratzlaff batted .373 with 31 hits.

Kylee Manibusan (Cerritos High) and Kendall Nakano (Norwalk High)

(Los Alamitos) Wildcats-Laufou/Hunter 

July 24, lost to the (Signal Hill) USA Athletics-Rogers/Mathis 9-0

July 25, defeated the (Rio Rancho) NM Sundancers 14-0

July 25, lost to the Chicago Cheetahs-Coronado 9-7

Manibusan came off the bench against the NM Sundancers to go two for two with a run scored and a run driven in while Nakano went one for two in that game with two RBI. Against the Chicago Cheetahs, Nakano went one for four and drove in a run. In 37 games played since the end of high school, Nakano batted .438 with 42 hits, 27 RBI, 26 runs scored and four home runs. In 105 plate appearances, she struck out five times. Manibusan batted .246 with 17 hits and 18 runs scored.