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Thursday, March 21 , 2019, 1:05 am | Fair 51º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Goleta’s 10U, 12U Thunder Bolt to Central California Softball Crowns

Both teams qualify for the national championships in August

Goleta’s 10U Thunder of the Goleta Valley Girls Softball Association showed amazing pitching and a powerful offense en route to winning the Central California ASA Championship national qualifying tournament in Santa Maria.

The 12U Thunder also took top honors and qualified for nationals.

Goleta 10U dominated from start to finish, outscoring their opponents 40-5 and earning the right to be called champions of Central California.

By defeating teams from Nipomo, Sanger, Bakersfield and Santa Maria, the 10U Thunder claimed a spot at the upcoming ASA 10U Western National Girls Class B Fast Pitch Tournament to be held in Tuscon, Ariz., from Aug. 2-8. The 12U Thunder will play in Las Cruces, N.M., the same week

The Thunder were led defensively by pitcher Hailee Rios, who compiled 30 strikeouts over 15 innings, allowing no earned runs and hurling two no-hitters. Offensively, the Thunder racked up an impressive .469 team batting average during the two-day tournament.

For their outstanding performances, Rios, Lauren Buie (second base), Anya Schmitz (third base) and Siena Wagner (outfield) were each named to the All Central California team.

In addition to those players, Goleta’s 10U Thunder roster includes Nicole Bennett, Cassidy Cole, Cassy Hagel, Carly Holland, AJ Leipner-Huerta, Casey Rickman, Janet Salas and Samantha Yanes. The team is managed by AJ Rios and coached by Willy Hagel, Dave Huerta and Bill Wagner.

It is estimated that the travel costs for each team to go to nationals will exceed $25,000. To support the teams, donations are being accepted through the Goleta Valley Girls Softball Association, Attn: 10U and 12U Nationals Fund, P.O. Box 1286, Goleta, CA 93116.

— Bill Wagner coaches the 10U Thunder of the Goleta Valley Girls Softball Association.

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