This year's North Shore 14-under girls All Star softball team had some pretty big shoes to fill. They arrived at the ASA North San Diego District Tournament as the defending champions.
With team manager Jeff Fisher and coach Phil DelNegro at the helm, their strategy played out successfully in a two-game win on the first day, clinching a spot in the Southern California State Championships this weekend in Lancaster.
The team came together as one despite player shortages and injuries.
In the first game, North Shore took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning against Escondido, but by the end of the second inning, the pressure was on as they were down 2-4. The team battled a total of six innings to win 6-5 with a combination of speed and power.
In its second game of the day against perennial powerhouse Poway, North Shore dominated each inning to win the game 10-1.
"Win each inning and you'll win the game," DelNegro told his team.
The hits kept coming through a combination of "small ball" strategy and perfect execution on the part of the players. With two more games on Sunday, the team took third place overall in the District Championship.
The team will play this weekend with hopes to move on to the ASA Nationals Tournament in Portland, Ore.,from July 27 to Aug. 2.
- Debi Fisher