The Goleta Thunder 14-Under girls softball team finished as runners-up at the USA Softball Western Nationals Tournament in Roseville, capping an impressive summer tournament season. The all-star team from the Goleta Valley Girls Softball Association went 27-5 and won several tournaments.
In the Western Nationals final, Goleta Thunder fell to Petaluma Steel Breeze, 12-5. The teams split two previous meetings in the tournament.
“I am just so proud of the way our girls battled in this tournament,” said Goleta Thunder head coach and GVGSA Board President, Jules Hastings. “In the end, I think having to play six games in two days caught up with us a bit, plus a long week of games in 100-plus degree heat.”
After going 2-1 in pool play, Goleta Thunder took the long road to the championship game, playing three games Friday and three again on Saturday in the searing heat of Roseville. Facing elimination following a 5-1 loss against Petaluma, Goleta Thunder caught fire with a 9-2 win on Friday evening over the Five Cities Screaming Eagles and followed with wins against La Habra (9-4) Saturday morning and Huntington Beach (7-1) in the semifinals before facing Petaluma in the championship game.
Goleta Thunder went 7-3 in the tournament, which included a 5-2 pool-play win over Petaluna.
“This is an outstanding group of players both on the field and off,” said Hastings. “The loss in the championship game stings for sure, but when we think about where we were a year ago, or actually weren’t this time last year because of Covid, we are all grateful for this summer of awesome softball. I look forward to watching these talented athletes excel in high school softball.”
Hastings was assisted by Melo Aguilar, Al Cerda, Leslie Guerra and Joe Hayes.