By Ray Hamill — Preparations are going well for the Mad River MIST 14U girls, as they get set to represent Humboldt County at the Alliance Fastpitch national tournament later this month.
The MIST players are down to their final four practices, but according to head coach Joe Brown, the momentum is building and the players appear ready for a good showing.
“Last night, after practice, I told the girls our hopes are to go there and play some excellent fundamentally sound softball,” Brown said on Wednesday. “And if we can hold our own, we’ll have a good showing.”
Last summer, the MIST players opted to begin competing year-round in the hopes of qualifying for the prestigious national tournament, and they achieved that goal earlier this year after some outstanding performances at several tournaments.
The girls’ efforts have been noticed, and the team is now ranked 108th out of 298 Alliance teams nationally in their age group.
A good showing in Tennessee would likely move them into the top 100, which is the goal ahead of the trip.
“We’re right there, and if we have a decent showing in Tennessee, we should make it,” Brown said.
The team’s recent performances would suggest they can achieve that, with two impressive tournaments in the lead-up to the nationals.
The MIST girls recently placed second at the Stars and Stripes tournament in Redding and they followed that with another good outing against some of the top travel teams in California at the competitive West Coast World Series Battle of the Rings this past weekend.
“It was a great experience,” Brown said of the latter tournament. “We played some super tough teams.”
While the coach admits they have some things they still need to clean up before the trip, mostly mental mistakes, there is still plenty to feel good about right now.
By 14U standards, this team is young, with only one 14-year-old.
But their youth doesn’t appear to be a problem.
The team’s youngest player, 11-year-old Leila Coleman, was one of three MIST players to hit a home run at the recent Redding tournament.
The MIST also have some quality pitching to call on in Tennessee, with a “three-headed monster” in the circle, according to the coach, including Kennah Sargent, Isabelle Sanchez and Bailey Brown.
The roster also includes Kenzie Coleman, Taylor Wade, Lillian Wilson, Natasha DeNicholas, Jessica Kaber, Allison Mitchell, Sephora Machado, Callynn McCullough, Evalynn Little and Jaylynn Jacobs.
“They’re getting excited,” the coach said.