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Tualatin's Ella Hoyle and Bella Valdes, and Tigard's Lexi Klum, step up for Bat Company 18U squad

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin's Bella Valdes (left) and Tigard's Lexi Klum, shown here during the high school season, teamed to help the Bat Company 18U team reach the Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championships.During the high school softball season this past spring, Lexi Klum and her Tigard teammates battled Bella Valdes, Ella Hoyle and their Tualatin teammates for supremacy in the Three Rivers League.

But, this summer, Klum, Valdes and Hoyle teamed up and helped the Bat Company ages 18U softball team, coached by Scott Ackerman, win a regional qualifying tournament and advance to the Premier Girls Fastball national championships, held July 19-27 in, and around, Huntington Beach, Calif.

To earn the national tourney berth, the Bat Company squad went 4-0 to win a PGF National Qualifier Tournament held June 21-23 at North Clackamas Park.

The Bat Company squad opened the regional tournament by getting a 1-0 win over the So Cal Athletics on June 21 behind the pitching of Maddie Erickson. Klum, a Tigard senior-to-be, and Valdes, a Tualatin senior-to-be, each had a base hit in the win.

Bat Company opened play on June 22 by getting a 4-1 win over the Washington Majestic. Klum went 2 for 3 at the plate in that game, with a run scored and an RBI.

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin's Ella Hoyle, shown here during the high school season, helped the Bat Company 18U team reach the Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championships.Later on June 22, Bat Company got a 5-3 victory over the NorCal Hotshots. Klum went 2 for 3 in that win, with a triple, a stolen base, two runs scored and an RBI. Valdes went 2 for 3 with a double.

Later in the day, with a national tourney berth on the line, the Bat Company got a 4-1 win over Universal Spary. Valdes went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Klum went 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI.

The Bat Company squad lost all three of its pool play games, and both of its bracket contests at the national championships, but the local players had some highlights.

Hoyle, a Tualatin sophomore-to-be, hit a double in a 3-2 loss to Panther Gold. Klum had a hit, a stolen base and an RBI in that game. Hoyle had a hit, and Valdes drew a pair of walks in a 1-0 loss to the Aces Express. Valdes had two hits, and Klum added one, in a 6-0 setback to the Chicago Cheetahs.

In bracket play, Valdes had a hit, a run scored, two walks and two RBIs in a 14-4 loss to the Louisville Lady Sluggers. In the team's final game, a 5-3 setback to the Batbusters, Hoyle had a double, a run scored and two RBIs. Klum singled and drove in a run.

The Bat Company team finished its summer season with a final overall record of 26-14.

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