OCEANSIDE — The Ozone Gold 12-and-under girls fast-pitch softball team went undefeated in seven games to win the 2009 World Series earlier this month at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla.
“In the championship game, Ozone Gold came out on fire, scoring four runs in the first inning and never looking back to take the title 9-2 over Wellington Wild from South Florida,” manager Tony Pallotto said.
Pitchers Hannah Bandimere and Destinee Pallotto combined for a two-hitter to kick off the series with a 16-0 romp over the Mustangs from Topeka, Kan. The girls recorded 16 hits, including a double by Robyn Ukegawa and a triple by Chabris Kelly.
Next the Oceanside-based team faced Wellington Wild for what would be the first of three matchups for the two ball clubs. Ozone Gold had 11 hits, with doubles from Erika Piancastelli and Destinee, and downed their opponents 7-3.
With a four-hitter from Julie McDonald, a homerun from Destinee and a double and two RBIs from Nicole Piancastelli, game three against the Worth Cobras of Georgia ended with a 5-1 victory and Ozone Gold entering pool play in first place.
Bracket play started with 10th seeded Ozone Gold facing the Indiana Rebels, ranked No. 1 in the nation by the U.S. Specialty Sports Association. By the end of the first inning, the local team had committed three errors and was down by three runs.
“As a team, our biggest challenge was against the Indiana Rebels,” Hannah said. “We had to keep our intensity up and fight back hard.” That they did.
Destinee went four-for-four, Erika and Chabris were both two-for-three, and Heather Runzel crossed the plate three times. After that disastrous first inning, Ozone Gold held their opponents scoreless and went on to win 8-3.
“The whole team never gave up, never letting the first inning get us down,” Hannah said.
After beating their toughest competition, the girls were off to the quarterfinals to take on the Jupiter Seahawks from Florida. With a final score of 6-2, it was a game of finesse for the offense and defense. Hannah pitched a complete game and allowed only three hits, while Heather had two runs and two RBIs.
“Defensively, there was a turning point that shut down Jupiter’s offensive rally,” Pallotto said.
With runners at first and second, centerfielder Nicole Piancastelli threw to her twin sister, Erika, for the first out at the plate. Hailey Drew and Destinee followed with an inning-ending double play.
In the final two games it was Ozone Gold versus Wellington Wild. Thanks to a two-hitter by Jianna Mique, the team shut out their opponents 3-0 in the semifinal. That set up a championship game in which pitchers Destinee and Hannah combined for a six-hitter to end the series as the champions with a 9-2 victory.
“Knowing that we made it to the championship game undefeated, and then we won the whole thing, was the best feeling in the world,” Hannah said.
In addition to earning the softball World Series title, Ozone Gold combined to receive nine tournament acknowledgements. Destinee, Hannah, Heather, Erika and Hailey were named to the all-tournament team.
Destinee was also named most valuable player for the tournament, while Hannah earned MVP for pitching and Erika, the catcher, received the offensive MVP award. Pallotto was named all-tournament manager.
For team information, visit www.ozonesoftball.com.