In a first for Ventura, a girl’s fastpitch team will represent the city at the Nationals Tournament following several victories across the state.

The Ventura Girls Fastpitch 10U division team consists of girls aged 10 to 11 years old, all residents of Ventura. Unlike softball or slowpitch baseball, fastpitch is just how it sounds: A pitcher chucks the ball at speed. Unlike the Major Leagues, however, the distance between the mound and home plate is shorter, at 35 feet compared to 60.

This year was the first that the Ventura team participated in the B division, having previously competed in C division tournaments, with A being the top level of competition, says team coach Angel Chavez. Because of their stellar record, the team moved up to the B and, through 51 games, holds a record of 42-8-1.

Qualifying for nationals was a big deal, says Chavez, but one not without much effort. After qualifying for the state competition, the team traveled to Lancaster for the nationals-qualifying tournament.

“It was about 110 degrees out and the girls played nine games,” said Chavez of the tournament that took place July 6-8. “We actually played two [games] Friday and three on Saturday, with the last game on Saturday night starting at about 9:30 p.m. On Sunday, the girls won three games [out of four], played back-to-back with a 20-minute break between each.”

In the end, the team placed fourth out of 42 teams.

In 2017, the Nationals Tournament was held in Boise, Idaho. This year, however, the team will not have to travel far to take part as it will be held in Camarillo.

“For a lot of these girls it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Chavez. “It would have been cool to fly out somewhere, but [we] as parents love the fact that it’s in Camarillo, financially.”

The full team consists of Kailee Staniland, Alyssa Chavez, Zayra “Yaya” Landeros, Jessie Sebek, Emma Estrella, Tessa Denger, Jordan Gonzalez, Aila Leoffler, Isabella Padilla, Jayla Raya, and Ginevra Scaglia, with coaches Angel Chavez, Fernando Landeros, Tim Sebek and Manager Jeff Staniland.

The Ventura Girls Fastpitch team will compete against teams from California, Arizona, Nevada and Idaho when the tournament kicks off on Monday, July 30, and through Sunday, Aug. 5. For more information on the team, visit www.venturagirlsfastpitch.org.