It was the opportunity of a lifetime for a group of 13 girls from Mesa, as they represented the western region of the United States in the Junior League Softball World Series.
“It was an awesome experience for these girls,” said Phil Lamoreaux, the manager of the All-Star team. “The goal from the beginning was to only win the state tournament but then it expanded from there. It was really cool for them.”
The team, comprised of girls ages 13-14, ran through competition in the state tournament, going 4-0 to win the state title.
They then went on to play in the West Region tournament in Tucson. In the four games the team played, they outscored opponents 64-15.
“We didn’t really have a chance to digest all of it because it happened so fast,” Lamoreaux said. “We won the regional tournament Wednesday night and then we were on a plane Friday night going to the World Series.”
The team traveled to Kirkland, Washington – a suburb just east of Seattle – for the beginning of the Junior League Softball World Series on July 28. Despite the quick turnaround, their dominance continued.
They began the World Series with a 10-5 win over the Latin American Region team from Curacao. They then went on to defeat the East Region and the Europe-Africa Region teams.
It wouldn’t be until July 31, the fourth game of the tournament, that the girls suffered their first loss of the All-Star season to the Southwest Region team from Texas.
“It was one of those games where everything went right for them,” Lamoreaux said. “Their shortstop played deep, practically in the grass, but she made some fantastic plays. I think the girls were frustrated.”
Lamoreaux believes the loss may have changed the demeanor and overall mindset of the team, which hurt them the next day. They ended up losing to the No. 2 seed from the Central Region, ending their chances of winning the World Series.
The loss put them into the consolation bracket where they took on the East Region team for the second time. They wanted redemption, and they got it in thrilling fashion. Lamoreaux’s daughter, Olivia, hit a double down the left-field line to score two runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, giving Four Peaks the 11-10 win.
“It was a great way to end things,” Lamoreaux said. “For many of these girls it’s their last ride with Little League. It was a great way to end.”
The experience Lamoreaux was able to share with Olivia is one he will never forget, especially given that it is her last year of eligibility due to her age. Lamoreaux will likely not return as coach for the All-Star team next season.
“Coaching your kid has its ups and downs for her and for me,” Lamoreaux said. “But it’s been a great experience and for her to drive in the winning run, we are both happy about that.”
Overall, it was a great way to end the softball season before the high school season begins in the spring, where most of the girls will continue playing with one another.
Aymee Smith is a sophomore at Westwood High School this year. The 12 other girls are all either sophomores or freshman at Mountain View.
Lamoreaux said their friendship and chemistry was one of the key factors for their success during the All-Star season. So to have most of the girls continue playing with each other at the next level, is special.
“Mountain View already has some good talent there, but these girls will just add to it,” Lamoreaux said. “They have so much confidence in each other so hopefully in a couple of years you will see that evolve at Mountain View.”
Mesa Four Peaks Little League Junior Softball All-Stars