Athletes of the Week

TEAM OF THE WEEK — Hard work paying off for group of local softball players

Submitted photos – The Storm players celebrate their second-place finish at last weekend’s tournament.

By Ray Hamill — A dedicated group of young local softball players have been working hard and it’s beginning to pay off for them.

This area features many quality young baseball and softball programs, something that has been reflected in recent years in how well the H-DNL teams have been doing beyond the Redwood Curtain.

And the Humboldt Storm 14U are keeping that tradition going after a big week competing at an end-of-season tournament in Vacaville.

The extreme heat didn’t slow down this group of 14Us — which includes a pair of outstanding 12-year-olds — and the team overcame a two-loss opening day with a pair of big victories over higher seeds on day two to advance to the championship game.

They ultimately lost the championship, while playing their third game in five hours in 95 degrees, but it was a successful outing nonetheless, with their highest finish yet in a tournament for a team that has only been competing together for two years.

And that make the Storm our Team of the Week, an award sponsored by College of the Redwoods Athletes.

A few years from now some of these players could be playing for the Corsairs, including the likes of Kaleya Parkinson and Abigail Gossi, the team’s two 12-year-olds, who each played beyond their years at the tournament.

Coaches Bailey Sanderson, Ben Sanderson and Cayden Pope guided the roster of 11 to success, utilizing a deep pitching staff of six, which was led by the impressive Olivia Gossi and Breonna Crnkovich.

The team also included Roxy Colegrove, Jaylynn Jacobs, Brooklyn Gonzalez, Tylie Mckinnon, Jamilet Ortega-Miranda, Bryce Sanderson and Sephora Machado.  

The Storm opened tournament play with a 10-3 win over the VVGF Elite, before falling 12-5 to Marin Tremors and then closing out pool play with a 16-4 loss to Fire & Ice.

On Sunday, they responded in style to what had been a disappointing opening day and won a pair of games against higher seeded teams to reach the championship.

They opened the day with an 8-4 win over the Nevada Rampage, before winning 11-8 in a rematch with the Tremors, who had beaten them by seven runs the previous day.

They closed out with a 17-2 loss to the NorCal Renegades in the championship game.

But that didn’t take from a breakout weekend and the team’s best tournament performance so far.

“They were bummed they didn’t win, but they were very happy with how they played,” head coach Bailey Sanderson said. “They’re getting better. That’s the main thing, they’re getting better.”

For more on the team, see Improving Humboldt Storm place second at CSA tournament …

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