Team Zonta Garbanzos, who won last Saturday's mid-season tournament. Photo: ABGSL

By Bora Reed

Bora Reed, an Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League parent and the league’s reporter coordinator recently wrote to Berkeleyside wondering if we would publish game reports. “Why not?” was our reply. Here’s the first: 

The Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League season is well under way, with girls grades 1-8 building skills, learning teamwork and having fun. Berkeleyside provided one perspective on the league from Moneyball author Michael Lewis in December. Below is a report of the Older Division’s mid-season tournament last Saturday, along with a few reports from games in the Middle and Younger Divisions. Special thanks to the team of embedded reporters for the game write-ups.

Zonta Garbanzos Win Mid-Season Tournament

Zonta Clubs’ Garbanzos girls softball squad jumped to an early commanding lead from the get-go in their first game on Saturday against the Friedman-Brueggemeyer Fantastic Flying Frying Pans with one run each scored by Zinnia Thewlis, Grace Rusin, Dylan Kurzgul and Anne Mugler. The four-run lead was held throughout the four-inning game thanks to sharp pitching from Zinnia and Grace and deft fielding skills of Claire McNally and Griffen Campbell.

The Garbanzos hosted their second game versus the Albany Physical Therapy Cyclones. The Cyclones opened the top of the first inning with a couple of runs sparked by a Jane Xu double and Haley McDermott RBI. A quick response in the form of a three-run rally got the ‘Banzos back in control with the go-ahead run scored by Griffen stealing home during a drawn-out Camila Rice at-bat. Mugler on the mound kept the ‘Banzos in control with a one-point lead. The second half of the game featured Griffen pitching for the Garbanzos allowing the Cyclones only one more run on a sacrifice fly. Two more runs earned by the ‘Banzos’ hustlin’ Dylan with Anne’s RBI assured victory and the honor of competing in game three, the Championship Round.

Ready to be challenged by the Impact Heat, the Garbanzos lead off with a Dylan Kurzgul base hit ripped down the third base line and through the defender’s glove for an additional base. Dylan’s speed and a solid base hit provided the ‘Banzos a two-point lead to defend. The Heat promptly put it on the ‘Banzos with a three-hit/three-run response to go ahead 3-2.

The ‘Banzos responded in the second inning, this time with an Emma Rusin single off the Heat’s Isabelle Lavrov, whose generosity helped walk in a few runs for the ‘Banzos. The pitching prowess of Zinnia Thewlis preserved the Garbanzo’s 5-3 lead through the second inning. Isabelle’s attempts to curb her generosity were futile as Claire and Emma’s walks were advanced with swift base stealing and an RBI single by Clara Bekeny. A ripped-with-vengeance RBI single by Isabelle gave her and the Heat a brief sense of redemption.

With the Garbanzos firmly ahead 7-4 at the top of the fourth, Quinn Lewis took to the mound for the Heat. The good eyes and swift feet that put Dylan and Cami on and around the bases elevated Claire’s bloop single into a two RBI hit.

The Heat staged an earnest effort to come back from its 9-4 deficit with pitch patience shown by Bella, Quinn, Isabelle and Jessica walking to fill the bases and eke out a few more runs for a final score of 9-7. Cami Rice’s hustle achieved the last out.

Younger Division

Alliance Graphics Purple Dragons 15, Berkeley Investments Sparkling Penguins 13

The Sparkling Penguins hit well throughout this exceptionally well-played game, with Lilah TK driving in three runs, and Ellena Fry knocking in an RBI double in the first inning. The Dragons countered with strong hitting from Amalina Lambert-Mullin (3 RBIs), Magda TK (2 RBIs) and Taigah Brown (2 RBIs). Playing third base for the Penguins, Loren TK and Gabreiella TK each made outstanding fielding put outs. The best play of this evenly matched game came in the third inning, as Purple Dragon shortstop Mira Knowles (5 RBIs) caught a fly ball, stepped on second and threw to Lila Marish-Roher (3 RBIs) at first, completing a rare triple play.

Berkeley Children’s Dentistry Blue Angels 22, Strategic Economic Red Ruby Robins 18

Jamie Cronin started the first inning with a strong hit, advancing runners. This was followed by double by Peyton Moore. In the second inning Bella Nathan hit a double and brought Eva Intoci in to score. Angels outfielder Naomi Birenbaum also threw to Peyton on 1st base for two outs and in the 3rd inning, there were a number of RBIs with Aviva Branoff hitting a double. For the Ruby Robins Zoe Exter was the hitting star with an RBI double in the first and a run scoring single to left in the second. In the third inning Saskia Knight hit a hard single up the middle to start a rally. Viola Coty-Moran did a terrific job stopping grounders from going up the middle from the pitcher’s mounds.

Middle Division

Arkin Tilt Architects Purple Panthers 6, Five Little Monkeys’ Black Lightning 6

Elka Saaf pitching for Black Lightning recorded two strikeouts, and the Purple Panthers stranded two runners in the scoreless top of the first. The Lightning opened its half of the first with a burst of hits: singles by Asia Brantley and Nora Galvan-Carty, then a double into the outfield by Chloe Stapleton-Gray. Camille Kobelin drove Chloe home with a single of her own, but was then forced out at second on a fielder’s choice off Elka’s infield grounder.

The second inning brought out the Panthers’ bats, with back to back singles by Abigail Cain and Georgia Thomsen. Two outs later, four Panthers in a row — Alyssa Hampton-Merina, Madline Kaneko, Uma Navarro and Jazmin Terry — singled. Jazmin’s liner to left drove in the inning-ending run. The Lightning battled back in their half of the second, with Kieran Sinnott reaching first on an infield hit, then going all the way to third on an overthrow while making a play for second. Asia rapped a single to score her, before Georgia, pitching for the Panthers, closed the door. After two quick outs in the top of the third, the Panthers racked up two more runs, with Abigail’s single followed by Georgia’s triple to right. On a full count, Annie Davenport punched a single to center, scoring Georgia. In the bottom of the third, down by two, the Lightning dug in and evened the score, with Elka and Sara McIntosh singling, then scoring on a single by Kieran, and a fielder’s choice by Asia.

The Prins Chiropractic Yellow Jackets 8, Hot Studio Tigers 1

It was a glorious day for softball at sunny Gilman Field. In the top of the first, Solia Valentine threw to Eleven Thewlis for a great put out at second base after the batter tried to turn a single into a double. In the top of the second inning, Sophie Shean made a great snag at third of a sharply hit ball. In the third, pitcher Daisy Paige was on fire, striking out the first two batters, while her battery mate, catcher Audrey Dowling, caught everything that came her way. In the bottom of the third, the Tigers finally got their batting mojo working, as Solia smoked a single up the middle, Daisy drove one to center field and Eleven drove in the Tigers lone run.

Yellow Jacket’s Helen Ross pitched a strong first two innings, with great catching by PB Fross and Mia Syren. Claire Conners in right field made a nice play with a quick run in to first and throw to Mackenzie Andrew at second base for a solid out. Yellow Jacket’s hitters were on fire with several solid hits by Claire Conners, Helen Ross, MacKenzie Andrew, Mia Syren, and also Layla Souza’s screamer to left field in the top of the third inning. Yellow Jackets pitcher MacKenzie Andrew and catcher Camille Lussier led the team in the third inning, with a nice middle field stop by Lila Blue Pond. Mia Syren brought in the most runs with three RBI’s for the game.

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