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The comeback girls

Irvine softball All-Star team has improved dramatically the past three years and will play in Western National tournament Aug. 1-7.

July 23, 2011|By Joe Haakenson, Special to the Daily Pilot

The club's resilience was never so evident as it was during the state tournament two weeks ago. In a game against Torrance, the ISGA All-Stars rallied with four runs in the top of the seventh to take a one-run lead. But in the bottom of the seventh, a dropped fly ball that would have ended the game instead allowed Torrance to tie it up.

Then Torrance won the game in the International Tie Break.

In the double-elimination tournament, that first loss can be devastating to a team. Instead of remaining undefeated and going back to their hotel to rest for games the following day, the girls had to play again that same night, and the game didn't start until 9:15 p.m.

"It was a crushing defeat," Sasaki said. "We had to wait to play again and I expected we might have a letdown. But Trina Hoang goes out and pitches a no-hitter. It was a great pick-me-up."

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It was the club's third no-hitter of the season, as Hannah Sasaki and Sabrina Dallas each threw one earlier in the season. Hoang's no-no though could not have come at a better time.

They came back Sunday to win their first three games before losing again to a well-rested Torrance team and finished in third place out of what began as a 154-team draw, starting with the district tournament.

Only one other team in the IGSA's 14-year history had reached the state tournament (Mark Fator's 2007 10U squad), but that team did not win a game at state.

"This is such a great story of never giving up," Sasaki said. "People could have looked at the girls as failures, but I never felt that way. They just needed time."

Sasaki's team this year includes Maya Gomez, Kaitlyn Lim, Trina Hoang, Sabrina Dallas, Kiki Besnard, Emily Kubisty, JoJo Michaels, Hannah Sasaki, Sydney Sprinkle, Naomi Stein and Kaitlyn Lologo.

How To Help

The tournament in Clovis will last a full week and the total cost is about $1,000 per player for travel expenses. Those who would like to help pay for expenses can do so by sending a contribution to: Irvine Girls Softball Assn., Attention: National Championship Tournament Donation, P.O. Box 16592, Irvine, CA 92623. Any questions about contributions can be answered by sending an email to Maria De La Cruz at mdelacruz19@gmail.com.

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