Seven all-league players lead a group of eight local softball players who will represent the United States on a USA Athletes International team competing in the Tuscany Series in Arezza, Italy, Thursday through Sunday.
The group includes pitchers Hannah Hustad, three-time Northeast 2B League most valuable player at Northwest Christian, and Michele Strauss of Ferris, All-Greater Spokane League first-team.
Also on the team are Taylor Wuesthoff, Lakeside, an All-Northeast A League first-team infielder, and a trio from Northwest Christian who were second-team All-NE 2B - Alexys Tibbetts, infield; Lauren Taylor, outfield; and Kaytlyn Turner, catcher.
Rounding out the group are outfielders Hanna Chaffin, second-team All-NE 2B as a senior at NWC in 2013, and Emily Stewart, North Central, who has a select-team softball background. Chaffin will be a sophomore at Northwest University in the fall.
Jamie Stewart, NE 2B coach of the year at Northwest Christian, is co-head coach of one of three U.S. teams in the eight-team tournament.
The Spokane Stars Blue defeated the Sandpipers Black 58-52 in the championship game of the Summer Heat girls tournament elite division at the Warehouse.
Madison Hovren (Central Valley) totaled a team-high 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Stars. Jessie Loera (Moses Lake) added eight points, six steals, eight assists and committed just one turnover. Otiona Gildon (Gonzaga Prep) led Sandpipers with 21 points and Laura Stockton (G-Prep) scored 14.
In the all-star division, Sandpipers Red defeated Montana Gold 65-57.
• George Pilimai (Shadle Park) participated in the Rising Senior Academy Basketball tournament put on by the National High School Basketball Coaches Association.
Pilimai played for the team representing the state of Washington. The team was sponsored by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association. The team went 3-1 and defeated teams from Ohio, Iowa and the host state, Indiana. The loss was to Wisconsin, which went 4-0.
Other players on the Washington team were: Grant Gibb (Mark Morris), Brent Wood (Toledo), Bobby Morehead (Stadium), Riley Hawken (Union), Devin Johnson (Battle Ground), Grant McEwen (Toledo), Ty Johnson (Anacortes), Ben Bishop (Olympia) and Vionte Daniels (Federal Way).
Ten area youth participated in the USATF National Junior Olympic championships last week in Houston, Texas.
Thronson took eighth in the girls 13-14 1,500-meter division in a time of 4 minutes, 54.31 seconds. Kendall Omlin took 10th in the girls 9-10 long jump (13 feet, 1 1/2 inches).
Another 19 athletes from the Spokane Mercury qualified for nationals by placing fifth or higher at the recent regional meet held at Central Valley High School. But due to expenses and other commitments they couldn’t attend nationals.