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Pearl City wins 16-and-under tournament

August 06, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

CALEXICO — Heading into the 2001 16-and-under Pacific Southwest Babe Ruth softball regional tournament, the Pearl City, Hawaii, all-star team — the defending champion — was the favorite.

On Sunday, Pearl City earned another trip to the 16-and-under World Series with a 4-0 victory over the Yuma Desert Heat at Legion Field here.

Pearl City concluded a perfect tournament in which it outscored its opponents 15-0 in three games.

"I felt we had a great defense and some great pitching. And I think that may have been the difference," said Pearl City manager Merv Asamura. "Our defense really played great and that's the main reason we did so well."

While Pearl City won the regional last year, Asamura said he knew things were going to be different this year.

"Coming into this we really didn't know what to expect, especially from the Arizona teams," said Asamura. "But then we saw the first couple of games and we knew that Yuma had a great team and would be a team that would give us some trouble. And they did."

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Pearl City narrowly defeated Yuma 1-0 Saturday to advance to the finals.

Things started as tightly Sunday as that first game, with the Yuma-Pearl City game scoreless through three innings.

Led by a two-run single by Richie Ann Titcomb, Pearl City scored three runs in the fourth off Yuma pitcher Andrea Renteria, who gave up eight hits and struck out two in seven innings.

Pearl City later tacked on an insurance run in the seventh as Nat Fujimato drove in Miki Asamura.

Said Yuma manager Miguel Villareal: "We had a good team, but we ran into a great team. We knew they had really good pitching and that was probably the difference. Hawaii's a good team and they deserve to go to the World Series."

While Merv Asamura pointed to his defense as the difference, it was the pitching of his daughter that made things easy on the D.

Miki Asamura gave up only one hit, which didn't come until the sixth inning, and struck out eight on her way to claiming tournament MVP honors.

"It all feels good, winning the tournament and getting the MVP," said Asamura, who was also 1-for-3 at the plate with a run. "Coming into the tournament we knew it wasn't going to be easy, but we knew we just had to take it one game at a time."

Next for Pearl City will be a return trip to the 16-and-under Babe Ruth softball World Series in Abbeville, La., which begins Saturday.

"Hopefully we'll do better this year in the World Series than we did last year. I didn't think we played that well last year," said Miki Asamura. "I think we will do better because this team is a little older and more experienced than last year."

The Imperial Valley all-star team was eliminated from the tournament Saturday, losing 1-0 to Yuma. The Valley team finished in third place.

Valley all-stars Nicky Carrion, Amber Flores and Stephanie Murray made the all-tournament team.

Also making the all-tournament team were Charity Senas and Leo Sing-Chow of Pearl City and Chelsea Mesa, Estee Villareal and Andrea Renteria from Yuma.

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