The youth softball tournament season is in full swing and a number of local programs recently finished up the Northern California tournament with quite a few teams qualifying for various state and regional tournaments later this month and next.
San Mateo Slammers
The Slammers had two teams — under-12 and under-10 B squads — qualify for the Western Nationals in Roseville, while the U12 and U10 C teams earned spots in the California State Games in San Diego.
The two U12 teams won Nor Cal titles at the Twin Creeks Softball Complex in Sunnyvale. The U12 B squad went 4-0 in its tournament, while the U12 C team was a perfect 5-0. Makaila Tuakoi pitched a perfect game and clouted a triple for the C team against the Palo Alto Heat. In addition to Tuakoi, Shannon Galliano, Charlotte Velasquez, Kaitlyn O’Keefe and Samantha Yap all hit triples as well.
In the championship game, Nicole Siotos hit a home run and pitched a complete game in earning the win.
Both the U10 team finished in fourth place for the Slammers. The B squad eliminated rival Foster City Flash, but in the third-place game, fell to the West Valley Slammers.
In a 15-0 victory voer Carmel, Alyssa Hurd and Erin Whang each hit a homer, while Peri Hocevar and Alexis Madera ripped triples.
Sydney Lee, pitching for the U10 C Slammers team, pitched a perfect game in a 20-0 win over Benicia, while Alex Bunton pitched a shutout in a 6-0 win over the Campbell Crush.
The Flames had its U12 C squad qualify for the Western National tournament after a third-place finish among 33 teams in the Nor Cal championships at Twin Creeks.
The C team won its first three games of the tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals before losing, which dropped it into the loser’s bracket. It won two games there, including the third-place game.
By finishing third, the U12 C team qualified for the Western Nationals tournament.
The Flames’ U10 B team won the Nor Cal title, beating out 23 other squads, going 5-0 in the process.
They won their first game 6-0, but the big coup of the tournament was knocking off a previously undefeated Foster City Flash squad before knocking off a team from Los Gatos-Cupertino-Saratoga in the championship game.
The U10 C team qualified for the California State Games.
The United States’ run in the World Cup is over following a 2-1 loss to Belgium in overtime Tuesday.
While many are lauding the efforts of the Americans — goalkeeper Tim Howard’s performance will go down in soccer history — the team did not, generally, play very well.
Defensively, the Americans were more than solid, going nearly 100 minutes without allowing a goal. But the rest of the squad? Meh. If the U.S. is to seriously challenge for a World Cup title one day, it simply has to upgrade its midfield and forward lines
Michael Bradley proved he doesn’t have the techincal skill to play distributor in the middle of the field — not at a World Cup level anyway. The rest of the midfield, save for Jermaine Jones, was a nameless, faceless, do-nothing group.
As much as I initially agreed with leaving Landon Donovan off the team, the U.S. certainly could have used his aggressiveness and ability to beat defenders off the dribble in the middle of the field. It’s nice to make one-touch passes all over the field, but the U.S. was way too sloppy playing that way. They needed a player who could beat defenders one-v-one and they didn’t.
Offensively, the U.S. showed little spark or creativity. While it hurt not to have striker Jozy Altidore for most of the tournament, no one else really stepped up to try to make up for his absence. Clint Dempsey is more of a midfielder than a true striker.
The U.S. played with a bunker mentality throughout the game against Belgium, almost as if it was playing for a penalty-kick shootout. Belgium dominated possession and attack and the U.S. was fortunate not to fall way behind during regulation time.
Once Belgium scored, the U.S. opened up the offense — and it cost it when Belgium got its second strike on a counter attack.
For the U.S. to truly go deep in the next World Cup, it needs to upgrade its midfield and forward lines. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t have the horses this time around, but the guess is here he will certainly have more weapons at his disposal in four years.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You follow him on Twitter@CheckkThissOutt.