Little League All-Stars softball: Rancho Bernardo 10U team reaches state tournament
By Michael Bower
Last year it was the Rancho Bernardo Girls Softball League’s 14-and-under all-star team making an amazing run to the state and then national tournament. This year the under-10 Blue all-star team could be headed down the same path.
The RBGSL under-10 Blue team became the league’s second squad in the last three years at the age level to reach the Southern California “B” State Tournament, which begins Friday and runs through Sunday in Lancaster.
The under-10 Blue team qualified for the state tournament by finishing in third place in the North San Diego District Tournament last weekend. RB went 4-2 overall in the district tournament, beating Scripps Ranch 4-2 to clinch a spot in the state tournament.
“It just shows the girls what can be done with hard work and determination,” said RB coach Mike Childers, who coached the 2002 under-10 all-star team to the state tournament. “They are a fantastic group of girls and it has been a real inspiration for me to see them come together.”
Childers coached his daughter, Jamie, on the 2002 team that went to state. Jamie, who is currently in the Army and was recently deployed to Afghanistan, went to a few practices to help coach this year’s group of girls. The team bonded immediately with Jamie and now wear a yellow ribbon on their uniforms to honor her.
“She is like a coach from afar,” Childers said about Jamie. “She had about a week with the girls before she left and I think she made a real connection with them. We do quotes every week and she sends them from Afghanistan when she can.”
The young group of girls are certainly playing inspired softball. The defense and pitching for the most part has been stellar and the offense has been steadily improving as the season moves along.
“Our defense was outstanding in this last tournament,” Childers said. “We had great catches in the outfield and good games by our pitchers and everybody was hitting.”
The team hopes it can continue to play at a high level in the state tournament. The top six or so teams will qualify to the Western National Tournament to be played in Spokane, Wash., from July 30 to Aug. 5.
“They have a pretty good chance,” Childers said. “I think they are coming together and playing like a real team. They are really quite inspirational.”
Also starting this week is the Rancho Bernardo Grand Slam Summer Jam. The tournament will bring around 70 teams from all over Southern California to play at Rancho Bernardo Community Park, beginning today (Thursday) and going through Sunday.
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