Blue Crew Storms Through Heat for Championship

The KLBS Blue Storm 12U softball squad captured the championship at the Hudson Valley Raptors 12U Pink October Fastpitch tournament, held Oct. 16-17 at Sprout Brook Park in Cortlandt Manor.

KLBS Blue Storm 12U took home the championship at the Hudson Valley Raptors 12U Pink October Fastpitch Softball Tournament. L-R: Samantha Saldutti, Ava Rose Kalarchian, Emma Covino, Riley Sacco, Maria DeGaetano, Sofia Valente, Elise Templeton, Coach Dom Valente, Marisa Antolino, Natalie Sacco, Arielle Davidson, Coach Ross Sacco, Leilani Forni, Lauren Goodrich, Gracyn Holm-Joergensen, Coach Mark Saldutti, Helena Hudson, and Coach Paul DeGaetano (not pictured: Lauren Metro). Photo courtesy of Kris Valente

The Blue crew stormed its way to an undefeated 6-0 in the tournament, outscoring opponents 60-26 to win the championship hardware. The perfect string of victories included a 5-2 triumph over the Ardsley Heat in the tournament finals.

Coach Ross Sacco’s Storm weathered the challenge against a lineup of strong programs, beating the Yorktown Huskers, 12-2, the host 12U Hudson Valley Raptors, 13-5, and the Orange County Bombers, 10-6, in bracket play on Saturday, earning a top seed for Championship Sunday.

The Blue Storm edged the younger KLBS Blue Storm 11U team, 9-8, in the quarterfinals, in what proved to be the team’s closest contest of the tournament, illustrating the strength of the broader Blue Storm program. The team then bested Yorktown for a second time, 11-3, before beating the Heat in the championship game, battling elite hurlers in both matchups.

Maria DeGaetano and Natalie Sacco enjoyed outstanding tournaments in the circle to lead the Blue Storm pitching staff, with DeGaetano going the distance in both the semifinals and finals, allowing just four runs over 10 innings with an eye-popping 20 punch outs.

Helena Hudson and Lauren Metro each drove in crucial runs in the semifinal win over Yorktown, while Marissa Antolino sparked the Blue Storm in the finals with a hit, ultimately scoring the decisive run. Leadoff hitter Elise Templeton batted a whopping more than .800 for the tournament, setting the table with half a dozen walks and 11 runs scored, delivering in her role and then some to get on base.

The coaching staff praised the performance of the entire team, saying every member of the group contributed to the trophy-winning effort, noting how the dominant play helps prove that a town travel team can compete at a high level. The staff also highlighted the fielding of the entire infield throughout the weekend, saying tons of runs were saved thanks to the defense repeatedly flashing their leather. 

“I wish I could mention everyone because I am so proud of the effort the girls and coaching staff put forth this weekend,” Coach Sacco remarked. “This was their first tournament win, and they made it happen because they are such a tight-knit group. There are no internal rivalries on our team, the girls support each other’s successes and failures without ego. That’s what KLBS is about.”

The Katonah-based KLBS, which serves Katonah, Bedford, Pound Ridge, North Salem, Lewisboro and Mt. Kisco, offers recreational teams, camps, travel teams, clinics and the Blue Storm tournament team. More information: l

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