WestSide Pride, a Santa Monica-based girls travel softball team for girls 12 and under, is heading to The NSA (National Softball Association) World Series next week in Reno, Nevada. They took First Place last month in the Southern California State Championship in Rialto, going 6-0, outscoring their opponents 43 to 14, to qualify for the World Series. They are favored to win at Worlds in the week-long tournament.
What makes this team so unique is that it is the only 12 and under travel team in the entire area, and it has been difficult in the past to put together a competitive travel softball team on the Westside when teams from Orange County and the Inland Empire traditionally dominate in Southern California.
“This is the culmination of two years of hard work for many of the players,” says Manager Karl Rumburg. He started the team with his daughter Karli in 2006 when they were looking for a more competitive venue without having to drive a couple of hours three times a week… thus WestSide Pride was born. Even more remarkable is that the travel team is made up of players from area recreation leagues (Santa Monica Little League, Santa Monica Girls FastPitch, North Venice Little League, Culver City Little League, El Segundo ASA & Westchester Del Rey Little League).
“It has been a joy to watch them grow from little girls into young ladies before our eyes and improve as extremely competitive softball players,” says coach Sammy Gallegos (and grandfather of one their star players, Bernadette Moran). In 2005 WestSide Pride players Karli Rumburg, Julie Munoz and Jessica Deese, led by Coach Karl Rumburg, won the District 25 Little League Championship against North Venice. In 2006 WestSide Pride players Bernadette Moran and Amber Flores, led by coach Sammy Gallegos, took the District 25 Little League Championship back for North Venice. It was a natural fit to combine forces to create WestSide Pride
The coaches and many of the fathers of the WestSide Pride athletes are former baseball players themselves and on many occasions over the past couple of years got a kick out of watching any number of the local neighborhood boys of the same age or older challenge the girls, only to be struck out by one of their 50/60mph pitchers… every time. “These girls are no pushovers,” says assistant coach Bob Golick. “Four of our girls even played boys baseball for a time and went undefeated in a fall season with two starting pitchers, only to return to softball in the spring.”
Many of the parents and players are starting to think about high school and even college. While most of the girls are in 7th grade, their thoughts and goals are focused on Santa Monica & Venice High School softball. Some of the girls even have college aspirations of playing for UCLA, Stanford, and UCSB. The program emphasizes good grades and the right training in preparation for the girl’s future.