Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, June 29, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page B:5



 Mountain Views News Saturday, June 29, 2013 


Sierra Madre’s 8U Softball All Stars Take SoCal ASA Community By Storm

Sleepy little Sierra Madre has 
made a name for itself in the 
Southern California softball 
community by its 8 and 9 year 
old All Stars. Historically known 
as a team to beat, Sierra Madre 
is generally selected by tournament 
hosts for pool play and 
expectations are that parents can 
schedule family vacations by late 
June. Not this year.

For the first time ever, Sierra 
Madre’s 8U Gold All Star team, 
aptly named Gold Lightning due 
to weather conditions during an 
early season practice, has taken 
home championships from two 
of five softball tournaments in 
which it competed, while getting 
to the semi-finals in others. Several 
weeks ago, Sierra Madre’s 
Gold Lightning took home impressive 
first place hardware 
from the Carlsbad Seabreeze 
Tournament after winning five 
games in single elimination. 
This weekend, Sierra Madre 
clinched the 2013 Southern California 
ASA 8U All Star Northern 
B District Championship 
and qualified to advance to the 
Southern California All Star B 
State Championships July 5-7 in 

In the double elimination Districts, 
Sierra Madre came out 
quick with a 5-2 win over West 
Covina Friday Night. Behind 
eight year old pitcher Tiara 
Westbrook, their bats were 
strong with ten hits including 
the team’s first home run by Izzy 
Jamgotchian who still wanted 
to play while ill. Saturday, they 
battled both offensively and defensively 
with a 6-5 win against 
formidable opponent, Charter 
Oak, whom they faced twice in 
Championship play the following 
day. Moving deeper into the 
winners bracket, Gold Lightning 
beat Placentia Yorba Linda 2-0 
with a strong showing by pitcher, 
Avery Bogue with 11 K’s and 
no walks.

On Sunday, the Sierra Madre 
pack showed up refreshed and 
undefeated with only the championship 
game ahead of them. 
Charter Oaks adrenaline was 
flowing after already playing two 
morning games as they faced 
Sierra Madre a second time. 
Despite a strong defensive effort 
with two double plays by 
Jessica Mysza (unassisted) and 
Izzy Jamgotchian to Tiara Westbrook, 
Charter Oak took the 
game in a 2-0 win handing Sierra 
Madre their first loss in the 
double elimination tournament. 

Sierra Madre got one more crack 
at Charter Oak having split the 
wins at that point. Just twenty 
minutes later, following a quick 
bathroom break and fueled 
by Cheetos, Go-Gurts and the 
hopes of getting more coveted 
lightning bolt helmet stickers 
awarded for hits, the final game 
began for the championship. 
Charter Oak took a quick lead 
2-0 in the top of the first inning. 
Making some defensive adjustments, 
Sierra Madre battled 
back in the second and third innings 
with Avery Bogue striking 
out 5 of 6 Charter Oak batters. 
Sierra Madre closed the gap to 
2-1 on a hit by Tiara Westbrook 
scoring Nikki Garriola in the 
bottom of the third. Gold Lightning 
was able to keep Charter 
Oak off the bases in the fourth 
and fifth innings behind strong 
defensive plays by Jessica Mysza, 
Carly Ruiz, Tiara Westbrook 
and Avery Bogue. 

Time was running out as they 
headed into the sixth and final 
inning. Charter Oak got a runner 
on with an error, but Sierra 
Madre proceeded to dust the 
last three batters on a fly out to 
3rd baseman, Brianne Kang, a 
sacrifice bunt fielded by Avery 
Bogue and the last of ten game 
strikeouts by ace pitcher Bogue. 
Sierra Madre had their work cut 
out for them as they entered the 
bottom of the sixth, behind 2-1. 
Leadoff batter, Jessica Mysza, got 
to first on a “hit by pitch”, then 
stole second base. This seemed 
to rattle the Charter Oak crew 
as Tiara Westbrook reached first 
base on an error. Cleanup batter, 
Bogue, stepped up with a shot to 
the outfield that scored Mysza 
and Westbrook to take the lead 
3-2. Megan “Boom Boom” Underbrink, 
who showcased her 
strength at the plate during the 
Carlsbad Tournament, came 
up last, hitting a hard ground 
ball down the third base line 
which was bobbled by the third 
baseman, scoring Bogue. Time 
called. Game over. Sierra Madre 
wins the District Championship 

The team has a magic number. 
It’s 13. If they can get on base 
at least 13 times via hits, walks, 
errors, hit batters, catcher interference 
or Act of God, they can 
generally win. They strive for 
lucky number 13. While they 
missed their magic number in 
this last game, only reaching 
12, they outdid their opponent 
who only got to 6. It’s the sheer 
will to win and the heart of this 
team that has turned them into 
the powerhouse that they are in 
the six short weeks they’ve been 
playing together as a team.

Manager, Andi Mysza, Jessica’s 
mom, says “The beauty of this 
team is that we can count on our 
entire lineup at the plate. At any 
point in time, all parts of our 
batting order come through for 
us. Whether a perfectly placed 
bunt by Samantha Moreno or 
a crushed line drive by Caroline 
Gamez, Maddie Fraer, or 
Carly Knoles, the girls feed off 
eachother’s successes. And, defensively, 
I have absolute confidence 
in our two first-year 
pitchers, Bogue and Westbrook, 
our catchers, Caroline Gamez 
and Brianne Kang (who all also 
play infield), infielders Jessica 
Mysza and Carly Ruiz, and outfielders 
Nikki Garriola, Megan 
Underbrink, Carly Knoles, Maddie 
Fraer, Samantha Moreno 
and Izzy Jamgotchian who have 
yet to let a ball get past them all 
season while making some spectacular 
catches. As a manager 
and a parent, I am extremely impressed 
and proud of these girls 
and what they have been able 
to accomplish while still having 

The team is coached by Darnell 
Westbrook, Candido Gamez, 
Marty Moreno and Andi Mysza, 
and assisted by an incredible 
group of parents who help at 
their three weekly practices, 
keep score, photograph games, 
and plan out its always favorite 
“snack.” Everyone is involved.

“This team is special. I knew 
from the start they would be 
special”, claims Coach Darnell 
Westbrook, father of Tiara. 

“It’s rare to assemble a team with 
this talent”, notes Mysza. “However, 
just as they amaze us, we’re 
continually reminded that they 
are eight and nine year olds by 
tying shoes, holding hands, wiping 
away tears, awarding a player’s 
doll with her “bolt award” 
and championship medal. We 
even have two lucky pennies 
that were found this weekend, 
one that Avery now keeps in a 
velvet jewelry box when it’s not 
in our pitchers’ back pocket during 
games. They are larger than 
life on the field, but off the field, 
they are kids having fun who 
still need to be in bed by 8pm.” 

Story and Photo submitted by 

About Sierra Madre Girls 

Established more than 30 years 
ago, Sierra Madre Girls Softball 
Association (SMGSA) has 
become one of the best girls fast 
pitch softball leagues in the San 
Gabriel valley, with teams competing 
at the state and regional 
levels while maintaining the spirit 
of a recreational league. Our goal 
is to help our girls build strong 
fundamental softball skills while 
having fun. 

SMGSA is a member of the Amateur 
Softball Association (A.S.A.) 
and follows their rules of play. 
We accept girls from any local 
city. Many girls come to us from 
Alhambra, Altadena, Arcadia, 
Bradbury, Duarte, Monrovia, 
Pasadena, San Gabriel, San Marino, 
and South Pasadena. 

SMGSA is a non-profit organization 
run by an all-volunteer 
staff. Many of our managers and 
coaches are ASA certified youth 
coaches, with coaching experience 
of 10 to 15 years. Our spring 
divisions are 6 and under, 8U, 
10U, 12U, 14/16U; our fall divisions 
are 8/10U and 12/14U. 

SMGSA introduced the 8U Division 
in the spring of 1999. 

Through 15 years of competition, 
and SMGSA 8U all-star team 
reached the finals of several tournaments, 
but had NEVER won 
one until Carlsbad 2013.

Before 2013, SMGSA 8U All-Star 
teams have had very limited success. 
From 2009 through 2012, 
8U teams won two games each 
year, and produced a combined 
record of 8-52-1. The 2013 team 
has already won 17 tournament 
games to date.

From 1999-2012, SMGSA 8U 
All-Star teams did not participate 
in ASA Championship Play five 
years, including 2012. Five years 
they were eliminated winless, and 
three years eliminated with only 
one win. 

Prior to 2013, the best Sierra 
Madre 8U performance at District 
was in 2003, when they 
finished fourth with a 3-2 record 
against “C” competition.

The 2013 8U All-Star Team is the 
first SMGSA team in ANY age division 
to win a Northern District 
“B” Championship.

Another Trip in Baseball’s Time Machine: 
Photography at the Field of Dreams 
July 1 ~ August 31, 2013 
Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut Street 
Pasadena, California 
Left: Willie Mays (“The Catch”), 1954 World Series, New York / Photograph by Frank Hurley, New York Daily News 
Right: 1960 World Series, Forbes Field, Pittsburgh / Photograph by George Silk, Life Magazine An exhibition highlighting the dynamic relationship between photography and baseball from the game’s formative years to the modern era Featuring “Baseball’s Best in Black & White: A Portfolio of Favorite Historical Baseball Photographs from The Rucker Archive” Also including contributions from: Frank Ceresi/The National Pastime Museum, Howard Cole, David Davis, Paul Dickson, Raymond Doswell/Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Morris Eckhouse, Chris Epting, Steve Fjeldsted, Bill Hickman, Greg Jezewski, Charles Kapner, Albert Kilchesty, Bruce Markusen, Dan McLaughlin/Pasadena Public Library, Mark Ocegueda, Joe Price, Andy Strasberg, Nick Smith, Kevin Varrone, and Pamela Wilson Exhibition is in the Business Wing, Humanities Wing, and Centennial Room Library hours: Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m. “Another Trip in Baseball’s Time Machine: Photography at the Field of Dreams” is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission