It was down to one more game before the newly-crowned Junior League Softball World Series Champions headed home.
After capturing the World Series title in Washington last week, the soft-spoken “tweens” from Negros Occidental’s Bago City got some relaxation in Southern California, where they capped their U.S. stay with a friendly game against former Philippine softball players.
Pitcher Erica Arnaiz recorded 85 strikeouts during the seven-game World Series. She pitched a no-hitter in the quarterfinals, and then a complete game shutout in the championship game.
With her accomplishments, her #24 jersey will be sent to the World Little League Museum in Pennsylvania.
“[I was] very happy,” Arnaiz said in Filipino when asked what she felt back then.
“I just really wanted to win,” she said.
The team was the first from the Philippines to win the Little League Softball World Series title in the junior division since Bacolod City won in 2003.
“Can you believe it’s been 20 years since the last champion was a team from Visayas?” Rey Fuentes, founder of the team, said.
“Our team which placed third last year and the team that became the champion could be mixed so that our seniors will be stronger. Our junior league is not there yet but we will still fight,” he added.
Filipinos in Southern California came out to see the girls in action as the alum, now in their 30s, squeezed out the victory over the reigning champions.
Among the alumni were members of the 2003 championship team like pitcher Nelsa Delagente, who now coaches at Saddleback College.
“It actually makes me proud to see them play in a championship game,” Delagente said.
“I’ve been there and I know how it feels like to win a championship. So, seeing them makes me so happy,” she added.
The team arrived in Manila yesterday, carrying with them weeks’ worth of achievements and memories.
Its members are expected to receive a heroes’ welcome when they land. (ABS-CBN News)