In 2022, the Greenberry Lady A’s proved that they were one of the best youth softball teams in the state of Washington.
In 2023, they proved that they are one of the best youth softball teams on the West Coast.
The Camas-based Lady A’s emerged victorious in all seven of their games at the 2023 USA Softball/Alliance Fastpitch Western National tournament, held July 25-28, at Wallace Marine Park in Salem, Oregon, to win the 12UA division championship.
“There’s a lot of talent on the team, but when we put it all together and we’re playing for each other, we can compete at a very high level, not just in our region, but nationally,” said Lady A’s coach Joel Greene. “I would say that’s the biggest thing — we can compete at a very high level, not just in Camas or Oregon or Washington, but anywhere.”
The tournament victory capped a stellar 2022-23 campaign for the Lady A’s, who went 65-13, with “more than half” of their defeats coming to older, more experienced teams, according to Greene.
The Lady A’s prepped for the Western National tournament by participating in the the prestigious Triple Crown Nationals tournament, held in San Diego in mid-July. They won three of their six games to finish in the top 30.
“We spent the whole year just saying, ‘How do we gauge (ourselves) with some of the better teams in the region and the nation?’ That is what that tournament was for,” Greene said. “We had a lot of success at that tournament. I mean, to the layman, it would be like, ‘You guys did (just) OK,’ but the teams that we played were super accomplished national teams, and we were beating them and holding our own, so that actually gave us a lot of confidence going into the western nationals. If we’re playing like we can play, we can play with anybody.”
Green said that his squad “is very solid in all facets of the game.”
“We have some incredible pitching, and we have a lot of depth at pitching,” he added. “I think that we are amongst the best teams in our age bracket in the area for hitting throughout the lineup. We play very solid defense. They do a lot of things well. There’s really not a huge (weakness). Another thing I think we do really well compared to every other team is we are super aggressive on the basepaths, which usually gets us quite a few runs.”
The Lady A’s, who won the 2022 USA Softball of Washington 12UB State Tournament, are part of the Greenberry A’s club organization, which also includes three youth baseball teams and a 10U softball squad. Their roster includes players from all over Clark County, including Camas (Norah Chambers, Jameson McNeley, Molly Walsh and Elliana Wittler) and Washougal (Olmos). They play and practice at Greenberry Field in Fern Prairie.
“One of our biggest strengths that I don’t think other teams have is the continuity with the girls,” Greene said. “Most of the kids have been playing together for (awhile), some of them for two or three years. Those bonds, those relationships, (have flourished). They pick each other up when they get in the dugout. They just have a love for one another.”
The team will enjoy a short “offseason” in August before gathering back together for the start of the 2023-24 season in October, their first of two campaigns in the 14U division.
“Now we’re the younger team,” Greene said. “You play two years at a level, typically. We will be considered a first-year 14U team (this year) and the next year we will be considered a second-year 14U team. Usually first-year teams kind of struggle because they’re the younger of that age group, but don’t see us struggling — I see us going out there and kicking butt. We’ll play 14U and periodically play some 16U tournaments, again, doing the same thing we did this year, (compete against) bigger girls, stronger girls, faster girls, so when we play 14s again, whether it’s size, speed, whatever, we’re used to it.”