Saipan's Janece Mae Crisostimo Salas can now call herself a state champion after her Arizona Strategy triumphed over seven other teams in the 2012 TCS Arizona State Championship 18U B-division girls fast-pitch softball tournament that concluded last June 3 in Glendale, Arizona.
The 17-year-old junior served as the team's utility player during the season. She played mostly behind the plate at catcher in the tourney, but also played shortstop, third base, and in the outfield.
Salas left Saipan and attended school in the mainland at an early age where she ultimately settled with her family in Arizona and has since established a fruitful fast-pitch softball career.
Now in her third season at the high school level, Salas has annually played on up to three different teams during her tenure in the mainland.
Salas' talent was discovered early upon her arrival in the U.S. and she even earned a most valuable player award at just 14 years old.
She also received the opportunity to learn from college-level instructors since her early teen years and aspires to be like Arizona State University Sun Devils star pitcher Jennie Lynn Flynch, who helped lead Team USA to a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics.
Salas started playing Little League in Radcliff, Kentucky with a boys team back in 2002 and has resided in Arizona since 2005.
Her parents are John Joseph V. Salas and Samantha C. Salas. She is the middle child. Her older sister is Julia Margret and her younger brother is John Joseph.
Janece Salas' team came into the tournament as the second seed in the four-member A-pool after mustering a win, a loss, and a tie in pool play. They tied Chandler Force-Doran, 5-5, in the first match and then lost to Scottsdale Fury, 3-9, before routing Phoenix Stealth, 11-0, to earn the second seed in the A-group.
Notably, Fury and Maricopa Kaos Fastpitch went undefeated through pool play, however the former was upset by Force-Doran, 10-4, in the second round, while Kaos Fastpitch was ousted by Stealth, 2-0, in their first game.
After the playoff seeding was established, the Phoenix-based Strategy advanced past Buckeye Banditas (3B), 5-3, in the first round and then doubled-up Stealth (4A), 6-3, in the semifinals before turning it up a notch on the big stage for a 14-10 finals victory over Force-Doran (3A).
Other participating teams included Phoenix Arizona RBI (4B) and Phoenix's Hammer-Sanchez (2B).
Moreover, Fury came into the event as the top qualifier of the eight B-division contenders with a 4-1 record, while Strategy held the No. 2 spot with win-loss-tie card of 4-1-1.
The games were held at Sahuaro Ranch Park and Paseo Park.