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Peach Bowl senior softball in Montana for West regional
Those interested in helping the Peach Bowl senior softball All-Stars can send donations to: P.O. Box 1358, Yuba City, Ca. 95992
From District 2 champions to the best team in Northern California, that's been the road for the Peach Bowl Little League senior softball All-Stars this summer.
Now, the talented team of 14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds are one tournament championship away from playing for all the marbles.
After winning district and sectional tournaments over the past few weeks, the group of girls from Yuba City hit the road on Tuesday and made a 963-mile, 16-hour drive to compete in the Western Regional Tournament in Missoula, Mont.
Pool play begins Thursday and Peach Bowl will represent Northern California in the seven-team tournament. The winner will be crowned the Best of the West and will head to Delaware to play in the World Series.
It's been quite the journey so far for this group, many of whom began playing together years ago while in T-ball.
"This is huge," Peach Bowl coach Bob Smith said. "Out of the last six years, they've won four district titles and played in the title game the other two times.
"We were kind of surprised it went our way this time."
Peach Bowl had to beat nemesis Redwood Empire of Eureka twice to win the sectional tournament in Martinez last week. They took game one 9-4 and had to grind out an 8-7 win in the championship game to claim the section title.
They scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth and won the game on a beautifully turned 1-6-3 double play to book their ticket to Montana.
"We had a little ax to grind with them," said Smith, who noted that Redwood Empire eliminated Peach Bowl when the group was in minors as 9- and 10-year-olds.
In Montana, Peach Bowl will play six games in five days against representatives from Southern California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and two teams from Montana. The two best teams after pool play will meet in a best-of-three series with the winner heading to Maryland to represent the West Region in the World Series.
"They buy into the system," said Smith, who pointed out that only four of the 12 players on the team are of league age, the rest should still be playing juniors. "There's no animosity between them. They're friends more than teammates and they just gel. They really get along well."
The team is also looking for donations to help pay for the trip. Those interested can send donations to P.O. Box 1358, Yuba City, Ca., 95992.