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Texas Dirt Divas Win The PGF 14U Premier National Championship

Texas Dirt Divas Win The PGF 14U Premier National Championship
Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Facing national powerhouse OC Batbusters-Campbell, the little-known Texas Dirt Divas put up a late fight to shock the softball community and gain national respect.

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

The Dirt Divas rallied from a three-run deficit to defeat the Batbusters 4-3 to win the PGF 14U Premier national championship on Saturday at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine, California. 

"I love it that an unknown team came in and made an impact at PGF," PGF president Dan Hay said. "That's two years in a row. South Dakota Renegades last year and the Texas Dirt Divas this year."

The Batbusters got off to a quick start with three straight two-out single from Alyssa Brito, Oklahoma commit Zaida Puni, and LSU commit Morgan Smith, whose single knocked in Brito to give the Batbusters a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Brito connected on a two-run homer to left field to push the Batbusters' lead to 3-0 in the top of the third. That would be it for Dirt Divas starter Kaci West, a Baylor commit, in the circle as she was replaced by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi commit Kaitlyn Dutton, who kept the Batbusters offense busted the rest of the game.

"I was trying to hit my spots," Dutton said. "I had to keep them off balance. I had to work. It was awesome to get the final out."

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

The Dirt Divas couldn't get anything going against Batbusters starter Angelina Devoe until Kaci West drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the fourth and scored on Crissy Bird's double to center field. Louisiana Tech commit Caleigh Mullican drove in Bird with a single to right field to cut the deficit to 3-2.

The Dirt Divas came back to the plate in the fifth inning with a leadoff single from Texas commit Hannah Earls. With one out and Earls at first base, West came up to the plate seeking redemption. West tripled to right field, sending Earls home to tie the game and Jaylyn Davis singled up the middle to drive in West with the go-ahead run. 

"I knew they could swing well against our pitching," Dirt Divas coach JD Chandler said. "I gave Kaci a chance, but they got on us quick 3-0 with that two-run home run. I went to Kaitlyn Dutton. She has three amazing offspeed pitches and she spotted them up good. She kept them completely off balance for four and a half innings. It was a great job by Kaitlyn Dutton, great job by the girls for fighting back hard. We had a lot of one-run ball games this week, a lot of fights. We had to fight all week."

Dutton came back in the circle and took care of the Batbusters in the top of the sixth, but she had face the top of the Batbusters' dangerous order in the top of the seventh. After getting Oklahoma commit Tiare Jennings out, Delgado single to right to set the stage for Brito, who already hit a two-run home run earlier in the game, but she flied out. Puni came up to bat with three hits already, but grounded out to shortstop to complete the stunning victory for the Dirt Divas.

"We didn't adjust when the second pitcher (Dutton) came in," Batbusters coach Mark Campbell said. "She was a little slower and changed her speed up a little bit. We didn't make adjustments when we needed to. In one of the innings, we should have thrown the ball to first, but instead we threw it to third. When you get in these environments, those things will cost and they did."

Delgado went 2 for 4, Brito went 2 for 4 with the two-run home run, Puni went 3 for 4 with a double, and Devoe threw 4.1 innings to get the loss for the Batbusters, who had to go through a difficult journey of winning five consecutive games on Friday to get to the championship game. 

"I have to look at the big picture," Campbell said. "It has been a great summer for us. Although we didn't win it, you can never judge the entire season on one game. It is everything you get up to that point. All the reps, all the work, how much better you made your game. That is what is most important for these girls, who now move up from 14U to 16U."

Dutton threw 4.2 innings of relief to get the victory for the Dirt Divas, who shined on the national stage at the PGF Nationals.

"It's great," Chandler said. "A lot of hard work winning this trophy. These girls have played 79 softball games together. A lot of work went into getting this trophy. They went to relentless work, relentless effort and dedication to this game."

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Written by Manny Alvarez
Follow him on Twitter @SoCalSidelines.


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