Dylan Graff / Special to the Daily Press
This past weekend, three All-Star Teams represented Santa Monica in the USA Softball Southern California State Tournament. Of the three, the 14u team is expected to continue and play in the USA Softball National Tournament, which will be held from July 27-30 in Chino Hills.
The qualification marks the first time a Santa Monica team has advanced to the USA Softball National Tournament since 2018.
The 14u team opened the tournament with two dominating wins. Despite starting their first game down three runs to Alpine, Santa Monica would rally for eight combined runs in the second and third innings to give themselves a comfortable lead. In the second game of the day, Viviana Lesky would keep the bats going, as she drove in five runs, propelling Santa Monica to an 11-3 victory over Yorba Linda.
The next day, Santa Monica would face its first test in Temple City. While Santa Monica led for the first three innings, Temple City would make it extremely close with a two run effort in the fourth. Eventually, however, Santa Monica would break the game open and go on to win the game 5-2. This would mark the third consecutive win, as well as Santa Monica’s official qualification for the USA Softball National Tournament.
The next two games against Escondido and La Habra did not go as well, as the team struggled both offensively and defensively. While some may view this negatively, Coach Lorenzo Lesky merely saw it as a chance to grow.
“I think the team needed an opportunity to face adversity, and I’m pleased with how they responded to it,” Lesky said. “Sometimes it was good, sometimes it was bad, but when they were good, they learned they were better as a unit than they were individually.”
When asked his thoughts about the USA Softball National Tournament, Lesky said the focus must be on the team playing within themselves and overcoming all forms of adversity.
“First of all, I hope they show up and start having some fun,” Lesky said. “But when they get faced with that adversity, they will have the opportunity to be the same team that got them through both states and districts, where they competed against not only the opponent, but also their own doubts and negative thoughts. They have been fantastic when that happens.”