12U USA Athletics Ding/Uyeda
By Hannah Famiano
12U USA Athletics Ding/Uyeda
March 4th, 2021 – The Pacific Coast Fastpitch League (PCFL) is excited to spotlight the 12u USA Athletics Ding/Uyeda. For the remainder of the 2021 season, we will continue to spotlight several teams in the PCFL in each age group to recognize several teams.
Based out of Signal Hill, CA, Coaches Kevin Ding and Russell Uyeda and several players joined USA Athletics in 2019 after winning the USA Softball 10u Southern California State championship with Torrance, and they were joined by several of the players who won the 10u Western Nationals championship with Downey. From there, they’ve played some of their best games in the biggest tournaments and are looking forward to the Alliance Fastpitch Championship Series and Premier Girls Fastpitch Premier National Championships later this season.
The coaches for USA Athletics speak so highly of this team. Coach Kevin Ding states “With that pedigree, this group really values its winning culture, which we work hard to maintain by encouraging everyone to make the most of every opportunity or rep they get in any situation. We talk about improvement more than anything, and the only improvement you get is making the most of the moment you have right now.”
As a team, their dynamic is “Size don’t matter, girls!” as Lexi Cortez is always saying on the field to her teammates. With generally being undersized compared to their peers, earning people’s respect is fun for them. They have a track record of being at their best in tournaments. At the latest one, the PGF Power 48 in Phoenix, of their seven tournament victories, they came from behind to win the first two, won three other games by one run and broke a last-inning tie in another.
Coach Russell Uyeda also talked about how respected they are, “Opposing coaches and watchful fans often tell me after the games how ‘scrappy’ we are. They say it while they’re shaking their heads. And on more than one occasion, win or lose, we’ve heard people say with a smile that they never want to play us again.”
Even off the field this team is impressive. The majority of the players posted perfect report cards for the last grading period. True scholar-athletes! They also had a cool shoutout on live TV at one of their first team bonding events at a sleepover at Coach Kevin Ding’s house. Ding is a studio analyst for the Lakers Spectrum SportsNet network where they gave a shoutout to their USA Athletics team and the girls went nuts. See the IG post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B7trGEvgHEZ/
Many players vocalized their unique team culture and dedication to each other. Lala Navarro: “My favorite thing about our team is we always have each other’s back on and off the field. We pump each other up when someone is down, and we never give up.” Karlee Earl: “We never give up. We dig deep and push each other to be our best.” Lisa Muñoz: “My favorite part about being on this team is how well we get along. We always help our teammates, and we aren’t just connected by softball. We can talk about other things like school comfortably and act like we’ve known each other our whole lives.” Ruby Grajeda: “We can always be there for each other. We give tips and can agree on things related to softball or not related. Our bond is unbreakable, and our team is unstoppable.” Maven Ding: “We are so competitive and we push each other to be better. We are constantly working hard so that we can improve.” Alyssa Uyeda: “We have this unbreakable bond between one another on and off the field. We can always be serious, yet still have a little laugh.”
Other teammates talked about their favorite memories: Sam Macias: “My favorite memory of the team is the Christmas party. We worked hard at practice and still had so much fun together and shared so many great laughs and memories.” Jiselle Rocha: “My favorite memory of the team is the Alliance tournament (PCFL Winter Championships). We worked so hard to keep playing and still had lots of fun. Something I like about this team is always having each other’s backs, no matter what, and we still continue making more memories.” Peyton Perriott: “I have learned a lot and really enjoyed our team combine (USA Athletics AthPro360 performance athletic-analytics evaluation). I got to know my team a little more and learn more about myself as an athlete. I love softball because it can teach life lessons and of course because it’s fun.”
Watch out as the 12u USA Athletics Ding/Uyeda keep challenging teams around the league with their rising skill level and team culture to win. Be on the lookout for this team as they compete in the PCFL the rest of the season. We wish them the best of luck and can’t wait to see what they accomplish.