Few would dispute that the pinnacle of softball club championship play over the last decade has been the PGF Nationals that take place each year in Orange Country, California.
For the past several years, the busy summer schedule would conclude with the PGF Nationals two week of play: typically the 18U, 12U and 10U in Week 1 and 16U and 14U in Week 2.
A year ago at this time we were preparing for the championships of Week 1 and who would have though, a year from back then, that California and its always beautiful weather weather would not be having softball while states like Oklahoma, Tennessee and Florida--occasionally the victims of inclement weather--would be?
Of course, no one even remotely considered that a world-wide pandemic would alter our lifestyles and lead to the horrific total of 150,000 deaths in the U.S. alone so far (and counting).
For this Throwback Thursday, we thought it would be nice to remember the great softball played last year in Southern California as part of the PGF Nationals 10-year anniversary.
A year ago at this time, the Huntington Beach-based company couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present to itself than the great games which provided nail-biting championships (and great drama on the ESPN networks showing the games).
The company even put out an anniversary video celebrated its one-decade birthday:
… and what a great birthday party it threw for itself!
Specifically, four of the five Premier National Championship games were nail-biters, two of which came down to the last play and one that was decided by the bounce of the ball (literally).
Here's what happened:
- At 18U, a great pitching duel came down to a ball bouncing off the third base bag and leading to the only run of the game.
- At 16U, the final pitch was delivered with two outs, a full count and the bases loaded with the tying run on second!
- At 14U, the #1 team in country in the age division with the #1 overall player in the class and the #1 pitcher in the same class rolled to the championship against an upstart first-year 14U team that refused to give up.
- And at 10U, the battle between two California powerhouse organizations was decided by a walk-off in extra innings.
Happily, the games were shown on the ESPN networks so the exciting championships were seen nationwide, even world-wide.
And that’s very fitting as these elite teams and players deserved to be recognized for some of the best softball we’ve ever seen in championship games of any level!
Below are our photos and game stories on each of the Premier championships.
*** Scroll down to read the recaps of the 2019 PGF National Championships from ages 18U down to 10U…