Haas, Bolts crowned 12U national champs

Local youth softball player Graidin Haas can now say she was a national champion before reaching high school.

Haas was one of 14 highly talented players from across the southeast to be a part of the Birmingham Thunderbolts 2024 squad that traveled to southern California nearly a month ago and won the Premier Girls Fastpitch 12U Premier Division National Championship.

Haas was listed on the team's roster as a utility player. She helped the Bolts battle against dozens of other top tier travel teams from California, Texas and Illinois at the tournament. The team finished with a 13-2 record through scrimmages, pool and tournament play.

The Bolts cruised through two pre-tournament scrimmages and went 2-1 in pool play.

Haas and her teammates then won their first three tournament games, outscoring their opponents 27-11, before getting dropped into the losers' bracket following a 9-2 defeat at the hands of the Beverly Bandits of Illinois.

The Bolts then won their next two games to stay alive in the national championship tournament and earned a rematch against the Bandits. This time it was the Bolts who came out on top in an 11-1 blowout.

Haas and her teammates then had to defeat Impact Gold from Texas twice to make it to the title game and they pulled off that feat with 4-1 and 7-2 wins.

The Bolts' nationally televised championship game then saw one of their best performances of the whole tournament, a 14-4 runaway win over Power Surge of California.

Through both pool and tournament play, Haas scored eight runs, including two in the national title game, stole a base and drew two walks.

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