Two Bears helped Rapids place in top 20 in nation

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
The 2010 North Valley Rapids ASA softball team. In front from left to right, Tonya Walker, Lauren Vestal, Hardy Vestal, coach; Tito Cervantes, manager; Richard Walker, coach; Kayla Spini, Emily Stokes. In back left to right, Haley Harris, Ally Bryant, Tori Weatherford, Cassidee Turpen, Taylor Gerhardt, Molly McWilliams.

Coach Tito Cervantes said his North Valley Rapids ASA softball team played like there was no tomorrow during the 2010 18U “A” Nationals in Hemet, Calif., earlier this month.

The Rapids, including Mount Shasta High School stars Kayla Spini and Tori Weatherford and other top north state players, lost their opener 4-1 to American Athletics of San Diego, then went on a winning streak before running out of steam during a grueling series of games.

“If anyone knows tournament play, starting out with a loss, the loser brackets become a bear and a long road,”?Cervantes said.

The Rapids did a lot of winning in a tournament that featured the best players in each state in most cases, including some who have played Division I college ball.

The Rapids came from behind in each game, playing teams from Arizona, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida and southern California.

In order to make it into the top 10 and continue, the Rapids needed to win five games in a row. They spent 14 hours at the ballfield but came up short in their fifth game.

Southern California teams have 17 to 24 players on their roster and have the option to play for any other 500 teams in the area.

“The magnitude of the accomplishment was the Rapids only had one senior, five juniors, three sophomores and one freshman,”?said Cervantes. “This was the tenacious 10 and they played their hearts out and finished in the 20th spot out of the best 140 teams in the United States.”

Not only did the team meet new friends from other states, Cervantes said they presented great sportsmanship by following their new friends and cheering the teams on in the bleachers.

“It was a great feeling to see such team bonding and coaching, for over 30 years that is still a good feeling to end the season with,” said Cervantes.