Prep pulse: Aug. 6, 2018

Prep pulse: Aug. 6, 2018

A trio of reigning News-Gazette All-Area softball athletes had a pretty good time in Huntington Beach, Calif., last week.

No, they weren't on vacation. The three local stars — St. Joseph-Ogden junior Hannah Dukeman, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley junior Madi Eberle and Argenta-Oreana senior Camilyn Newbanks — suited up for the Premier Fastpitch Paulson 2001 squad, based out of Mattoon.

The girls' mission: Surpass a field of 75 other U16 programs in the Premier Girls Fastpitch softball tournament.

The result: a ninth-place display Friday, when all was said and done.

What made that result even more impressive was the challenging start the Paulson squad encountered in pool play.

After knocking off The Factory (Calif.) by a 5-0 margin, Paulson suffered narrow defeats to Indiana Magic Gold Rudd and Impact Gold-Jazz (Texas), by 3-1 and 4-0 scores, respectively.

Still, this didn't mean Paulson had reached the end of its road. Next up was bracket play, which began last Tuesday. And that venture went far better for Dukeman, Eberle, Newbanks and their teammates.

In an 11-2 drubbing of American Athletics SA Virchis (Calif.), Newbanks swatted a pair of doubles to help the cause. Paulson followed by edging out LTG (Calif.) 5-4 the next day.

On Thursday, it was Eberle's turn to shine. The area's strikeouts leader in 2018 tossed a shutout against Prospex Gold (Ala.) en route to a 1-0 triumph.

Unfortunately for Paulson, a pair of losses followed to keep the club from taking down the whole showcase. Newbanks managed multiple hits in one of those affairs to cap her tournament on a high note.

We've seen a bevy of local prep talents competing in non-IHSA events this summer and posting strong results. This is just the latest in that line of successes.