Firecrackers Rico Claims 18u PGF Title
The Premier Girls Fastpitch 18u National Tournament just wrapped up this past weekend. The final game was between the California Cruisers and the Firecrackers Rico. Both teams were loaded with big time program commits, such as Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.
Starting pitchers Chloe Romero and Brooke Vestal were able to hold both teams and avoid major damage. Firecracker Pitcher Vestal does not over power her opponents with velocity. The Oklahoma commit is able to hit spots at the top and bottom of the zone. Vestal will not be attending OU until the fall of 2018. The right-hander was victorious and held the Cruisers to three hits and no runs.
Firecracker shortstop Nicole Bates started off the game with an infield single and manufactured a run for herself by stealing third then advancing home on a throwing error. Which allowed catcher Mary Iokopo to produce the second and final run of the game with a sacrifice fly. Iokopo is an Oregon commit with an advanced aggressive approach at the plate.
Chloe Romero was the starter for the California Cruisers. After the first inning, Romero was able to settle down and give her team a chance to come back and win. The Utah commit is able to mix speeds very well and misses barrels.
The California Cruisers were not able to get anything going offensively. Vestal was able to pitch a no hitter through the first four innings until a slap single to the left side. The lone moment when the team had the opportunity to do some damage against the Firecrackers was in the top of the fifth inning with bases loaded and one out. Vestal was able to get a pop out then ground out to escape the inning. Jasmine Sievers of the Cruisers impressed defensively making a diving play up the middle. Sievers will be heading to Oregon in 2018.
Firecrackers Rico won their first PGF National title last week. In 2010 and 2011 the team lost back-to-back championship games. There was a good amount of young talent on both sides; we hope to see these players make another trip to the PGF Nationals in 2017.