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La Jollan helps softball squad win Silver Medal at Nationals

Team secures berth for the 2009 ASA-USA Junior Olympic Fastpitch National Championship

La Jollan Gabby Salerno has played travel softball for six years, and finally, she was in the championship game July 28 with the So Cal Breakers. They also secured the berth in next year’s ASA-USA Junior Olympic National Championship. Only the top two teams earned one.

At first, the team struggled to mesh on the field and at the plate, but with a lot of hard work, the team fought its way through the grueling brackets. Salerno, a Bishop’s Junior, found hope in the team’s steady improvement on the diamond.

“I knew we had an incredible amount of talent on the team, and we knew that we had a chance when our bats came alive, " said Salerno who batted .476 for the tournament.

So Cal Breakers scored over 57 runs. The girls went into the finals as the only undefeated team.

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The Breakers played Breeze is the championship game. The Breeze struck first, going up 1-0 in the first inning. It was 1-0 until the 4th when Salerno came to the plate with a runner at first. On the third pitch she connected. The left fielder immediately sprinted back, but the ball soared over her head. Despite a strong headwind blowing in from left field, the ball crashed hard against the fence, and the runner scored all the way from first. The game was tied, and things were looking up, but the Breeze eventually came back and won 3-1. So even though they lost the game, they were the only Southern California team to win a berth.

“We are so proud of the girls for earning a berth for next year. This is a huge accomplishment for the So Cal Breakers organization and our players. We would like to thank the parents, players, and the Umpires who were outstanding and put on a great tournament. We have been to several championship tournaments and the umpires at this tournament were awesome. I think they liked us too- as one gave me his ASA Umpire Coin and another came to get all our player’s autographs in the tournament book, " Coach Matt Eisenbraun said.