Eddie Brooks knew his Batbusters 14-and-under softball team can hit the ball.
But the squad made a lot of noise in Reno, Nev. That’s where the Batbusters, based out of Lockeford, won the Triple Crown Western World Series’ Gold Bracket with a perfect 10-0 record. There were 33 teams in the Gold Bracket, and 89 teams that played in the week-long tournament that ran from July 22-27.
The Batbusters beat the Texas Blaze Elite 3-0 in the championship game. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when Sakora Harvell hit a two-run home run. Gianna Galli doubled and scored on Harvell’s dinger.
“They were also undefeated going into the championship game,” Brooks said. “Both our team and the Texas team were scoring a lot of runs through bracket play. I had in my thoughts that this is going to be a barn-burner.”
In the circle, Kailani Tatro, one of the Batbusters’ pitchers, cooled off the Blaze Elite, who only had two hits in the game.
“Kailani went seven innings,” Brooks said. “She kept them off-balance.”
Members of the Batbusters are Kenedi Brooks, Makenna Leonard, Galli, Brooke Nordahl, Belen Ruiz, Harvell, Bailie Clark, Laney Koepp, Reese Mossa, Kennedy Dingman, Victoria Lloyd and Tatro. All of the girls are current or incoming freshmen in high school. Eddie Brooks is the head coach. Bryan Wells and Mike Koepp are the assistant coaches. Kenedi Brooks is a freshman at Lodi High.
Prior to the championship game, the Batbusters posted a come-from-behind 17-11 win over a Texas squad that led 9-2. Nordahl hit two home runs in the game; a three-run and two run blasts.
“That really got the whole team fired up,” Brooks said. “Brooke stepped up. That rolled into our next game against (Oregon Thunder) going into the last game against (Texas Blaze Elite).”
Between the summer and spring seasons — and counting the Triple Crown World Series — the Batbusters rolled to a 48-15 record. The squad played in a combined 12 tournaments dating back to March.
Brooks has been coaching travel softball for the last 20 years, but the last 10 coaching competitive teams. He said that this is the first time in the last decade that one of his competitive teams has won a tournament of this magnitude. He’s had teams take second to third places before this summer.
What has led to the Batbusters’ success this season?
“They play great defense,” Brooks said. “By far, one of the most powerful offensive teams I’ve had.”
Brooks said that his team has hit 28 home runs during the summer and spring seasons.
“To me, that’s a lot,” said Brooks, “and our pitching is really solid. We don’t have power pitchers, but they can move the ball around and have a lot of velocity. It’s good to see how these kids came together.”
Now that the summer season is over, Brooks, his assistant coaches and the girls are taking well-deserved but short-lived enjoyable vacation. That is because the players and coaches will begin preparing for the fall ball season that runs from September until November.
After each girl plays at their respective high schools’ softball programs next spring, the group will get together again for the summer of 2020.
“We have one more year,” Brooks said. “Everyone is freshmen. We’re a young 14 team, and the sky is the limit for this team next year.”
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.