How an underdog softball team made it to the national championship

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Hernandez.

Location

Monterey Park , CA United States

Monterey Park’s Hailey Yoshida and Julia Domingo recount their softball team’s journey to the Western National Championships, taking place from July 31 to August 5 in Roseville, CA.

All-Stars. That’s what we are. A group of girls selected from our 14U Bruins softball team to represent Monterey Park. At that time, we had no idea what a special team we would turn out to be. After all, we were just some friends who liked to play together. That friendship is one of the reasons that we have come so far. Each girl has the others’ back — through thick and thin. We have grown from mere acquaintances to sisters, not realizing how much we would value and depend on each other through every step of our journey.

As a result of this undeniable chemistry, we have succeeded in making it to the B-District State Championship Tournament, making history for our tiny city of Monterey Park. No other Monterey Park team has qualified as a B-District team, as we are usually considered a city with lower level C-District teams.

Coming into the tournament, we had no expectations. After all, being there was an accomplishment itself. We were the undeniable underdogs. However, in the end, we were able to take 5th place out of 32 teams from all over Southern California.

Being on such a special team, we have come to appreciate each other rather than the individual achievements we have made. We have not only learned the value of teamwork, but the values of humility and self-reliance, in order to achieve milestones we will never forget.

What does qualifying for the 2017 Western National Championship Tournament mean to us? Honestly, this wasn’t even a thought a week ago. We lost the second game in the state tournament. Then we had to come back Saturday and play up to three games on the hottest day of the weekend (110 degree heat) and we had to play in the middle of the afternoon. In the end, we won all 3 games, ending our last game at almost 11:30 pm after starting our day at 8:00 am.

We were exhausted — physically, mentally and emotionally — but there was no time to think about that. We had to come back and play an 8 am game on the next day (which in softball means-we have to wake up at 6:30 so we can start warming up at 7:00). We rushed back to our hotel, showered and went to bed — we didn’t even have time to eat dinner.

In the morning, we were beyond tired, but we came out and beat the first team. This placed us in the top 5 teams in the tournament. Our second game, we played a team who was well rested and was able to even watch us play our first game. We came out flat, making careless errors. Then we regrouped, and started playing like the team we truly are and ended up losing by only one run. We were the better team again — but given the circumstances, we gave it our all. We left everything out on that field. If this was the end of our amazing journey we would be okay with that — we had already made history for Monterey Park Sports Club softball. But it wasn’t over! We won the next game and were headed to the Western National Championship Tournament!

This experience has proven to us that we are truly All-Stars. This is not just due to the talent we possess, but the physical, mental and emotional toughness that we display as a team.

Should anyone from the public like to contribute to our fundraising campaign, Big or small, any amount will help our team. We have worked so extremely hard for this, and it would be so unfortunate if we did not have enough money to support this final trip together as the Monterey Park 14U All Stars. Visit our GoFundMe page.

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