Playing in the Summer NIT
tournament on May 31 and June 1 at Foskett Field in Lincoln, the Napa
Valley Express 12-and-under softball team braved 90-degree weather and
finished with a 5-1 record and the championship.
The team relied on strong pitching to get through the tournament.
Saturday, the girls cruised to a 12-2 opening-game win against Team
Velocity of Sacramento. Faith Bartlett took the ball and led the team to
victory in the pitching circle, allowing only three hits.
for Express were the tough Manteca Waves, who defeated Napa 7-4. After a
break, the Express took the field and handed Starfire a 7-3 loss.
Express jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a leadoff home
run by Lindsey Lehman and never looked back. With the win, the girls
were seeded No. 1 going in to Sunday’s elimination bracket.
came out on fire in its first game, winning 11-0 in a three-inning game
shortened by the 10-run mercy rule. Sara Heinke led the charge with two
doubles and a stolen base.
In a rematch against Starfire, Kimmie
Walston threw a complete game for an 8-5 win. With the game tied 5-5
after four innings, Express staged a rally to win it in the bottom of
the inning when Ellie Goetze drew a leadoff walk, Lehman singled, and
both scored on a rocket to left by Hill. Leading the defense was third
baseman Mila Valentine, who shut down Starfire’s bunting game
After a break, the girls took the field for the
championship against the stubborn Starfire team and beat them 8-0.
Express came out of the gates fast, with Lehman, Nikki Hill and Haylee
Giarritta all singling and scoring on Kaleena Jezycki’s clutch single.
That would be all Express would need to win, but it tacked on runs in
the second, third and the fourth, when Jezycki finished off the scoring
with a home run. The championship game was errorless for Express and
featured several plays, including a running catch in to the gap by
Kaitlyn Dunevent and a nifty double play by the middle infield.
was led on offense by Lehman (10 for 15, .666 batting average),
Giarritta (8 for 13, .615), Dunevent (8 for 13, .615), Heinke (8 for 13,
.615), Walston (7 for 14, .500) and Alana Valentine (3 for 6, .500).
The Napa Valley Express thanks the Napa Sheriff’s Activities League for its support.