SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Sydney McCall answered the call to believe.
The leadoff hitter for Snow Canyon Little League in its two most important games to date, McCall had three hits and reached base four times as Utah’s 11- and 12-year-old softball champions clinched the team’s trip to a Little League World Series.
“I believed I could do it and I had to do it for my team,” McCall said. “That’s what was going through my head.”
Snow Canyon defeated Oahu, Hawaii’s Gold Coast LL, 6-2, Friday in the championship game of the Little League Western Regional at Al Houghton Stadium.
“It’s really big,” McCall said. “This is what we’ve worked for and I’m glad I was able to do it for my team.”
McCall hit .500 (11 for 22) in seven games for Snow Canyon, the newly-crowned Western Region champions. The team moves on to play in Portland, Ore., Aug. 10-17.
“Every day, something new would happen and we just kept going,” Snow Canyon LL manager Markay Thorkelson said. “We keep saying to the girls, ‘We’re just riding this train,’ and it’s just picking up steam and we don’t know where it’s taking us.”
One of a handful to get on base 10 times this week when she reached on an error in the first inning, McCall later scored on Jael Wilde’s single for the game’s first run.
She singled with two outs in the second inning, but was left stranded. McCall then came up with two outs in the fourth and got a base hit, coming around to score on Emma Gunn’s infield single.
With a 5-1 lead in the fifth, McCall added an RBI single for a little insurance for Jenna Thorkelson.
Snow Canyon’s ace was masterful throughout the tournament, setting a new record for wins (six) while leading all pitchers in strikeouts (38).
Thorkelson (6-1) was tossing a three-hitter until the bottom of the sixth, when she allowed Hawaii’s second run on a pair of hits.
McCall, who also had three walks and three stolen bases in the tournament, had a message for Snow Canyon’s 11- and 12-year-old baseball team, scheduled to play in San Bernardino beginning Aug. 7.
“Better keep us going (and) keep Utah going,” McCall said.
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Great job girls, lots of people cheering for you, from your favorite umpire, Bruce