The Paso Robles 8U girls softball team packed up their bags and headed for San Diego this week to play in the State tournament hosted at Qualcomm Stadium. The team is comprised of 12 girls: Aislyn Vogt, Amanda Becker, Bailey Sandoval, Chloe Van Pelt, Dani Rivas, Izzy Murphy, Kayla Kratz, Kiley Bowman, Liliana Luera, Natalie Davis, Nealy McCluskey, Zoe Kinder and together they have posted a 17-9 record this season. However, of those nine losses, six of them have come against the same team, the Santa Maria Quakes.
These Bearcats are coming off of a huge tournament victory last weekend in Clovis, where they were able to exact revenge on a Visalia team that robbed them of the District Association Champions a few weeks earlier.
“We had actually lost to Visalia in the District Association Championship, and we beat them in the championship last night,” head Coach Tina Kratz said. “So we lost to them in the Associate Championships 4-3, but won last night 2-1.”
The girls won their semi-final game in walk off fashion, with the heroics coming from Vogt.
“The game was scoreless until the fifth inning and Aislyn came up and hit a shot like she always does to the outfield,” Kratz said of the game-winning hit.
The Bearcats are currently on a six game winning streak and are playing nearly perfect softball. In their last six games alone these girls have outscored their opponents 49-4, four of those games ended in shutouts and in three of them they scored ten runs or more.
The team is led on defense by their pitching ace Bowman who has pitched over 50 innings this season and recorded an astonishing 121 strikeouts while only walking 25 batters. She currently has an earned run average (ERA) of 2.7, and left the Clovis tournament as an MVP. Come Saturday, Bowman will surely be pitching for the Bearcats.
The offense has been led this season by the shortstop, Van Pelt. In 26 games this season she is hitting for a .643 average with 35 RBI. Van Pelt leads her team in almost every significant statistic with her her on-base percentage at .712, and she also hit two home runs to go with two triples and five doubles.
The State tournament this weekend will host 27 teams in the 8U bracket. There will be teams from California, Arizona and Nevada all gunning for the title. Each and every girl on the team looks to be a future Bearcat, and hopefully a State Champion.