Facing the 2015 Big League Softball World Series champions from West Monroe, La., the Latin America team from San Juan, P.R., rallied from four runs down to clinch the 2016 title with a 10-7 win on Sunday, Aug. 7.
“It’s been a long time coming, a lot of years working to get to this day,” said Latin America manager Gerardo Flores. “Coming back from behind was a big point.”
“They got a rally started,” said Southwest manager J.D. Jones. “They did a good job. It just wasn’t our day today.”
Latin America got the scoring started in the bottom of the first, when Angelis Perez sent a shot over the fence to make it 1-0.
After back-to-back base hits from Janiliz Rivera and Tina Velazquez in the same inning, Andrea Sanchez loaded the bases on a walk, and Marie Collazo made it 2-0 when she was hit by a pitch and sent another run home.
With the bases still loaded, Southwest pitcher Destiney Lilley got her squad out of the jam with a strikeout, to end the inning after that, and they responded in the top of the second with two runs of their own.
Southwest would take a 6-2 lead in the top of the fourth, after a scoreless third inning, thanks in part to a two-run shot from Rebecca Skains — who would finish with two homeruns on the day.
In the next two innings, however, Latin America would string together a total of eight runs, to first tie the game at 6-6, then go up 10-6 and close down the game.
“That’s a lot of the same girls that were here last year. They played good ball all week long. They’re a heavy hitting team. They made their plays, and they outhit us,” Jones explained.
“I’m very proud of [our team]. This is my last year to do this. I couldn’t think of a better group of girls to spend my last run with.”
Latin America outhit Southwest by a total of 11 hits to seven, in a game that saw only one error.
Skains led Southwest with two homeruns and four RBIs, while teammate Lyndsey Evans tacked on two hits of her own.
Marie Collazo had three hits and three RBIs for Latin America, while Lesliean Marrero added two RBIs.