ThursdayFeb 23/1710:09 pmPST
Rancho Santa Margarita
Welcome to the home of the RT X-plosion 10u 2006 All-stars!
We're looking for any photos you would like to include on the website.
Head Coach • Dave Martin
Assistant Coach • Jeff Blair
Assistant Coach • Mike Everett
Team Moms • Anne Marie Blair • Karen Karlan
Web Site • Don Dawson
Sports Writer • Keith Sharon
Introducing YOUR 2006 RT X-plosion All-Stars
#00 - Meagan "Blizzard" Adamson
#44 - Bailey "Scrappy" Blair
#22 - Carlie "TNT" Dawson
#5 - Alysha "Stretch" Everett
#9 - Lauren "Power" Graffeo
#10 - Caitlin "Snackbar" Harman
#2 - Rachel "How U Doin" Karlan
#16 - Megan "Taz" Linderman
#20 - Sydnee "Lil Warrior" Martin
#14 - Rachel "Down N Dirty" Phillips
#11 - Alison "Terminator" Sharon
#23 - Alyssa "Crush" Summit
OK, so it didn't go as planned.
The Rancho Trabuco X-Plosion never got ignited in the Tournament Del Sol. One victory (a 4-0 pitching gem by Rachel Karlan in which she struck out 10 batters) was the lone bright spot.
The all-stars finished the season with an 12-10-2 record that included one tournament championship and one second place finish.
The five week schedule was full of highlights and memories:
- Sydnee Martin, the lone player on the field responding to "Sydnee, Sydnee, what's it gonna be?" with a resounding "Defense, defense, one, two, three."
- Carlie Dawson shaking her head at the obnoxious parents who would get on every hit "Gotta get dozzzzz, Carlie."
- Caitlin Harman CATCHING against Scripps Ranch after being pointed toward home plate.
- Edd Karlan's face when his "thousand-dollar wallet" was sabotaged by unnamed co-conspirators.
- Lauren Graffeo's huge hit that won a championship trophy.
- Alyssa Summit's quickness. She beat out grounders to short and caught popups behind home plate.
- Dave Martin getting coaching tips from his Mom.
- Jeff Blair's manly between-game loofah bath.
- Phil and Mary Beth Harman teaming up to irritate the waitress, bartender, manager and anybody else who stood in their way of getting the perfect margarita/lemon drop in San Diego.
- Jackie Dawson's claim that she was back in her hotel room by 10:30 p.m. when witnesses saw her entering the hotel at 6 a.m.
- Alysha Everett's power.
- Alison Sharon's new do. She has a face under all that hair.
- 35 people eating pizza in Mindy Linderman's hotel room.
- Bailey Blair's 50-foot fly ball single that kept the rally alive against Hart.
- Rachel Phillips' big day - home run and double, plus all her huge pitching performances.
- Bryon Phillips' addiction to Rock Star.
- Mike Everett's need for 14 hours of sleep and a trip to Denny's at 5 a.m.
- Rick Adamson taking loud credit for every move his daughter made. "Who's your Daddy?"
- Rick Adamson getting caught on camera with his arm around the coach's wife, the homely hotel pool guard, several moms and a couple of dads -- all while poor Katie was out of town not getting caught doing whatever she was doing.
- Rick Adamson (this is the Rick Adamson section of the story) asking the waitress if she could please send out someone younger and more attractive to take our drink orders.
- Megan Adamson playing shortstop and giving all the credit to her father.
Here's the final question:
Is Dave Martin going to do "Whatever It Takes" to coach fall ball?
We'll have to wait about five weeks to find out the answer.
San Diego Photos are coming soon!
The words that came to mind when Lauren Graffeo came to bat with two outs and darkness falling Sunday evening were not good ones: impossible, inconceivable, insurmountable. But by the time Graffeo was finished, there was only one word to describe what happened.
Graffeo hit a two-run double to tie the game, 3-3, and force umpires and tournament officials to call the game because of darkness and declare the Rancho Trabuco X-Plosion and Hart Silver as co-champions of the Rancho Roundup.
Father's Day presents don't get any better than that.
The championship game tie was so improbable that officials didn't have enough first-place trophies to go around. The X-Plosion will be counting on trophy wife Jackie Dawson to get them new trophies soon.
Graffeo's hit, a line drive to left center field, which is becoming known as "Graffeo Alley," capped a furious comeback that started so innocently. Trailing 3-1 with two outs, Alison Sharon used the speed she inherited from her father to beat out a hard grounder to shortstop. Bailey Blair used the power she inherited from her father to bloop an infield single between first and second and set up the drama.
Graffeo's at-bat was the signature moment of this all-star season. By the time pinch runner Alyssa Summitt scored the tying run, Rancho parents were in full cardiac arrest. Everyone was jumping, screaming, banging the fence, high-fiving Teri and Tom, trying to breathe, hugging and acting, for lack of a better phrase, like happy idiots. Edd Karlan may have even soiled himself, just a little, during the explosion.
The X-Plosion raised its all-star record to 10-7-2 overall and 9-1-2 against B teams.
Championship Sunday started with a bang. Rancho destroyed a good South Huntington Beach team, 12-2. That game produced the X-Plosion's biggest inning of the season, an 8-run outburst that turned a 2-2 tie into a rout.
In that inning, nine straight X-Plosion hitters reached base. The inning ended on one of the hardest hit balls of the day. Sydnee Martin's rocket down the first base line, which looked to be a sure double into the right field corner, was snagged by the first baseman and turned into a double play.
Against Orange Villa Park in the semifinals, the game was tied 1-1 when Summitt and Graffeo hammered back-to-back doubles to produce what proved to be the winning run. Rancho beat OVP to advance to the finals.
In the three games on championship Sunday, the X-Plosion used solid pitching and great outfield play to take home the trophies.
Alysha Everett and Rachel Karlan each grinded out victories in the circle. Everett threw harder than she ever has. Karlan was her typical poised and polished self.
The outfielders saved the day. Graffeo (her name keeps popping up) made a sliding catch in right field. Karlan, Sharon, Phillips and Blair each made catches in the outfield that preserved victories for the X-Plosion.
Megan Adamson also turned in a stellar defensive play, snagging a shoe-top line drive and turning it into a double play.
As usual, Caitlin Harman and Carlie Dawson made the left side of the infield the "no grounder zone." They combined for the final three outs in the championship game.
Rachel Phillips handled every chance at first base, including several streeeettttcccchhhh plays that saved Rancho.
Summitt was the offensive star against South Huntington Beach, going 3-for-3 despite a tender shoulder that nearly forced her out of the game.
Megan Linderman, or "Minderlin" as Don Dawson kept referring to her, was tough behind the plate. She threw out a runner in pool play, caught a foul pop-up in the championship and used her quick hands to snag four foul tips on third strikes to help Rancho to victory.
Graffeo's big day, however, could not overshadow the special day enjoyed by first base coach Jeff Blair.
Blair used the time between games to pamper himself with bubble bath, scented candles, an exfoliate (he promised to give the other Dads the name of the product at their next poker night) and a loofah treatment, giving new meaning to the term "man." It is unclear whether Blair painted his toe-nails and shaved his legs.
But he did smell nice.
BIG BEAR CITY -
At the midway point of the X-Plosion's final game Sunday, Caitlin Harman and Carlie Dawson couldn't take their positions because there was a small swarm of bees on the field.
But it isn't the bees the girls have to worry about. It's the A's.
After three terrific victories, the Rancho Trabuco girls were knocked out of the Big Bear Valley Tournament by Pennisula's A-team, 6-5, in the quarterfinal round. It is the third time the X-Plosion has lost to an A-team by one run.
In three weeks of all-star play, Rancho has compiled a 6-1 record against B teams and a 1-6 mark against A's. (Note: Lake Elsinore has only one all-star team, so they are A's -- and Rancho beat them). Coach Dave Martin assured the girls after the game that another A team down the road is going to pay for all those heartbreaking losses.
Rancho had a great chance to advance on Sunday. They jumped out to 4-0, then 5-1 leads and seemed to be in complete control. But Pennisula started hitting line drives through the infield, and the Breakers made a couple of great plays in the field to pull out the victory.
The good news for Rancho was the offensive explosion during the tournament's first three games. Rancho outscored its opponents 29-7. The X-Plosion beat East County, 15-2, (mercy rule), Pennisula B, 8-0 (mercy rule) and Lake Elsinore, 6-5.
Every girl on the team contributed immensely to the victories.
Alysha "Altitude" Everett clubbed two home runs and a triple in Big Bear. Opposing fielders did not want to get in front of the balls she hit.
Megan "Who's Your Daddy?" Adamson came through with the most pressure-packed hit of the tournament, smacking an infield single to drive in the winning run in the bottom of the 7th inning against Lake Elsinore. Blood pressure medication was administered to both her parents after Adamson's game-winning hit.
Harman had one of the best defensive games in recent memory. Against Pennisula, she made the first five outs of the game. In all, she caught or assisted on 10 of the 18 outs that Rancho recorded in that game.
Rachel Karlan not only pitched a shutout on the mound, she played like a gold glover in center field. One of her web gems was a sliding catch in right center field.
Sydnee Martin came through with a line drive single to left that drove in a run.
Megan Linderman showed her toughness. With the game on the line against Penninsula's A's, she blocked the plate, got bowled over and still hung onto the ball for the out.
Lauren Graffeo played a flawless game at first base and swatted line drives into the left center field gap. She would have been a hero in the day's final game if her line drive to shortstop would have been hit a few more feet to the right.
Alison Sharon hit a wicked line drive that hit the East County pitcher in the leg. The pitcher had to leave the game.
Bailey Blair was on FIRE during pool play. She smacked two doubles and a single.
Dawson was a weapon offensively, laying down bunts that moved Harman from first to third. Once, Dawson drove in a run with a sacrifice bunt.
Rachel Phillips pitched well twice, earning a complete-game victory against East County. Then coming in and shutting down Penninsula on Sunday.
Alyssa Summit is proving to be a tough out in the No. 5 spot in the batting order. She wacked line drives all over the field this weekend. She also handled a tough popup just in front of home plate.
The X-Plosion's first road trip of the all-star season was full of highlights off the field. It was either Mary Beth Harman's 28th or 48th birthday (or somewhere in between). Don Dawson apparently thought MB was much younger, insisting on referring to her as "Mary Kate."
Several X-Plosion parents got their first taste of the "Don Cone" drink. And Dawson, the team's loudmouth photographer, was on the road to enjoying himself a bit too much when Jackie promptly cut him off. Don meekly retreated.
Several dads, including Brian Phillips, Mike Everett and Tom Graffeo, had a hand in almost destroying coach Dave's tri-tip in the barbecue. And, by the way, since when do we pay the coach enough that he can afford tri-tip?
Jeff Blair spent most of the evenings yelling "LINDERMAN" at the top of his lungs. We have no idea why Blair likes yelling "LINDERMAN," but the name is catchy. And other parents have picked up the battle cry.
Max Karlan, the little lothario, had all the ladies swooning with his incredible version of "Dirty Little Secret" by the All-American Rejects. He was so good, he performed one encore that included dancing.
Next week, we'll try to swat the B's in the Rancho Roundup.
This is the way the weekend went for the X-Plosion:
With the tying run at third and the winning run at second, Rancho Trabuco had its hottest hitter (Rachel Phillips, who had already hit a home run and a double on the day) at the plate against Huntington Beach. RT had already scored three runs in the inning.
This was about to be the most dramatic comeback victory of the young all-star season.
Suddenly ... thud.
Game over. The drop dead rule went into effect as the clock ran out.
A sure victory turned into a 6-5 defeat against rival HB. The X-Plosion won one of four games in the Sea Country Classic at Laguna Niguel bringing their season record to 3-6 (but 3-1 against B teams).
The weekend started slowly - hopefully not a pattern for Rancho Trabuco - with an 8-1 loss to the host team, Laguna Niguel A. Lauren Graffeo made a terrific catch in left field, but it wasn't enough.
The girls bounced back nicely Saturday morning, stomping Carlsbad B, 12-2, in a game that was stopped after four innings because of the mercy rule.
Phillips hit a home run, Alison Sharon hit a triple, Bailey Blair hit a double and the rest of the X-Plosion whacked the ball around the park like it was batting practice. The first five batters of the game - Caitlin Harman, Carlie Dawson, Alysha Everett, Sharon and Alyssa Summit - started with base hits.
Rachel Karlan was lights out in the pitcher's circle. She won her first decision of the all-star season against Carlsbad. Then she pitched even better on Sunday in a 2-1 loss to Navajo.
The Navajo game may have been the X-Plosion's best of the season. Navajo, an A team that featured a lineup of 6-footers, couldn't put the X-Plosion away.
The Navajo starting pitcher, who looked old enough be getting ready for the high school prom, fell behind early, 1-0.
The second Navajo pitcher, however, had an "electric" fastball, and gave up only one hit, a rocket single off the bat of Everett, in three innings of work.
The game feature several incredible defensive plays. Megan Adamson and Sidney Martin covered a lot of ground at second base. Adamson made a great back-handed stab of a grounder and caught a line drive going to her right. Megan Linderman was blocking balls behind the plate to shut down Navajo's running game. Dawson, again, was solid at third, making grounders in the hole look like easy outs.
And Sharon made a shoe-string catch in right field that prompted applause from the opposing coach and the umpire.
Even X-Plosion coach Jeff "Gurgle" Blair proved his toughness. After tossing back two or three sodas at lunchtime on Saturday, Blair shot-gunned a few No Fear energy drinks.
Next thing you know, Blair was doubled over doing "Whatever It Takes" to get back in the game. Let's just say he hit the eject button on the No Fear.
Blair was back coaching first base in no time.
Dawson, Sharon and Harman were chosen players of the game by the opposing teams - despite the influence of their fathers, who must have had little to do with their softball abilities.
Reporter's note: Asked how she was able to get RT into the Big Bear Valley Classic, Jackie "Bulldog" Dawson described weeks worth of email sweet talking (which did NOT involve twirling her hair) with the tournament director. Apparently, the Dawsons got the best condo, the best seats and a voucher for free food during this weekend's tournament. The content of those emails was not available at press time.
Whatever It Takes.
You don't measure the character of a team when it is winning. You measure character when a team is down, when nothing is going right, when the losses are adding up.
The Rancho Trabuco X-plosion showed tremendous heart, taking home the second place trophy in the inaugural San Clemente Tournament. It was a stunning turn-around for the X-girls, who dropped the first two pool-play games - both to A teams - by a combined score of 19-5.
When the real Rancho team showed up on Sunday, the X-plosion exploded. They beat Irvine B, 8-1, then won a tense defensive struggle against Orange Villa Park, 2-1, to advance to the final.
In the tournament's championship game against Irvine's A team, the X-plosion led 1-0 after six innings, but gave up a run in the seventh, then lost in a tie-breaker, 2-1.
Rachel Phillips pitched incredibly in the finals, and allowed just three runs in 14 total tournament innings. Alysha Everett also had a complete-game pitching performance and a victory.
Caitlin Harman was awesome at shortstop, contributing at least three highlight-reel plays - one on a sprawling catch of a line drive and two on game-saving throws to the plate. Harman also scored the X-plosion's only run in the championship game.
Carlie Dawson made an unassisted double play on a line drive to third base, insured a trip to the finals with a long throw to first for the final out of the semifinals, and spent what seemed like 20 minutes turning a bunt into a home run. Against Irvine's B team, Dawson legged out a bunt, tripped on her way to second, slid into third and scored on an overthrow.
Dawson is now 714 home runs behind Barry Bonds on the all-time list.
Alyssa Summit, moving like a cat behind home plate, caught two popups for HUGE outs.
Megan Adamson got the weekend started off in spectacular fashion with a two-run single in the first inning of the first game.
Alison Sharon drove in the winning run of the semi-final game against OVP's tough pitcher.
The X-plosion had contributors up and down the roster: Lauren Graffeo earned her nickname "Power" by blasting a double.
Sydnee Martin contributed a key bunt.
Bailey Blair hit a rocket for a base hit in the final game.
Megan Linderman not only blocked the plate and recorded a key out in the semifinals, her laser throw home stopped a runner in the finals.
Rachel Karlan made a shoe-string catch at second base.
Coach Dave Martin breathed a huge sigh of relief when his team started to play better this weekend. He will not be fired ... yet.
The Rancho fans were in championship form, despite a few cheers that fell a bit flat.
Rick Adamson revealed his idea for the "Undercover Scrubber," an anti-bacterial device for cleaning escalator hand rails. Adamson is unclear when he will unveil his product to the public, but he is certain that it will be worth at least a billion dollars. Don Dawson quickly tried to weasel-in on the idea - contributing nothing to the venture - just in case there was real money to be made.
The X-plosion parents spent much of the evening Monday trying to come up with a chant that included the team's motto "Whatever it takes." Alas, there are no creative people among the X-plosion parents, and no one could come up with anything.
Luckily it is still early in the all-star season. By the time the Laguna Niguel Tournament begins, the parents should have a chant worked out.
And Rick Adamson should be rich.
Big Bear Photos to come shortly.
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