Sat, Jul 27 2013 12:58 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The 17th annual Triple Crown Fastpitch World Series arrived in San Diego County on July 8 and concluded play on July 13 as the top 10U and 12U girls softball teams in the United States competed for coveted championship titles.
Nearly 30 10U teams and 110 12U teams, and their corresponding families, arrived in Southern California for the week-long event, bringing millions of dollars in economic impact to the area.
The South County-buttressed San Diego Mystic 2K squad impacted the elite tournament with an inspiring run to claim the 12U Silver Division title, likely leaving visiting teams stunned with amazement.
The Mystic, comprised of 14 12- and 13-year-old girls from all over the San Diego region, began play in the mega tournament on July 9.
The team finished 2-2 in pool play and then proceeded to open bracket play with two wins. However, the team lost its third bracket game to fall into the losers bracket.
That meant that in order to play back to win the division championship the team had to play seven games on July 13 — and win all of them.
The Mystic 2K team, which spotlights girls from South County and is coached by Jeremy Bachtell, Forrest Levinson, Joaquin Farfan and Michelle Hanson-Benavidez, had been training for this tournament for several months.
Ouster in the early rounds was not acceptable.
Farfan said extensive strength and conditioning training conducted under the leadership of coach Archi Perry, paid off as temperatures at Kit Carson Park in Escondido reached 92 degrees.
The girls did, indeed, roll a “lucky seven.”
The Mystic 2K team is comprised of pitchers Mimi Farfan, Alexis Otero and Veronica Quirino, catchers Alexis Perry and Sarah Gross, infielders Ashley Kopp, Savannah Chapman, Jessica Bachtell and Andrea Wright and outfielders Nena Franco, Maria Trujillo, Missy Miller, Jalyse Hansen and Stephanie Herrera.
Annalisa Soto, who was out with an injury, rooted on the team.
The Mystic showed up at the ball fields at 6:45 a.m. that final Saturday to warm up and get ready for what was hoped to be a long day — one that most likely exceeded all expectations.
The first game was against the OC Batbusters 01 and Mystic 2K came out strong, winning 5-2.
The next game against the Arizona Hotshots 01 was over even quicker as the Mystic run-ruled the Hotshots in four innings by a score of 10-1. The next two games transpired in similar fashion as the Mystic run-ruled StrikeForce Rancho and Imperial Valley Fogball.
The fifth game was against the team that had sent the Mystic to the losers bracket the previous day via a tough 6-5 defeat. This time, however, the Mystic would have no such problem as the San Diego team run-ruled Epoch, 7-1, to move onto the championship game against Nemesis Elite.
Mystic had to win twice in the double-elimination tournament and this was a daunting task, according to the elder Farfan, as Nemesis had rolled through much of the tournament.
But Mystic 2K proved it was no ordinary team. After a slow start, the bats came alive and Mystic captured a seven-inning battle 7-2.
The second game started off with Mystic making three errors in the opening inning to give up three runs.
“Other teams might have collapsed, but not this team,” Farfan said.
Mystic got two runs back in the bottom of the first inning to close the gap. Again, the coaching staff said the team’s conditioning paid off as the bats woke up again. Led by a massive home run blast by Kopp, Mystic held Nemesis scoreless the rest of the game, and continued to pour on the runs.
A double by Trujillo knocked in two runs to seal an 11-3 run-rule victory as the Mystic 2K won the Silver Division of the TCS World Series.
The Mystic played 14 games over the course of five days, including the seven contests on the final day of the event. The team’s final record was 11-3.
‘To play seven games in one day was an incredible feat — to win all seven was an amazing thing to watch,” Farfan said.
Parade of champions
Triple Crown Sports, which is based in Fort Collins, Colo., owns and produces more than 300 youth events across the country in baseball, basketball, fastpitch softball and volleyball. The company also produces Division I men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments and has created a Drift Car Racing Series.
San Diego County hosted the 14U Triple Crown Fastpitch World Series last year when 170 teams participated. In 2014, the area will again host the TCS World Series, but for 16U and 18U divisions.
Triple Crown rotates host cities each year for age groups to give teams and families a different location to visit. This year Reno is hosting the 14U division while the 16U and 18U age groups are being played in Park City, Utah.
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