It was the furthest that a softball team from Canada had made it in the Senior League Softball World Series to date, but U.S. Southeast (Fort Myers and Cape Coral, Fla.) would ensure that their historic run would stop there.
After three scoreless innings, Southeast would jump out to a 1-0 lead in the fourth and tack on a two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth to seal a 3-0 victory and claim the Senior League crown.
“They’re a great team — credit where credit is due,” said Canada manager Bill Hawkins after the game. “They played a great team game. There were no weaknesses. They’re the best team here, and they won the tournament. I thought their pitching was just outstanding.”
That pitching was led by Southeast’s Nicole Rodriguez, who racked up 14 strikeouts in the matchup.
“I can’t say enough about her — she’s been unbelievable all week,” said Southeast manager John Breadmore. “She’s just been dominant and almost unhitable.”
Offensively, Southeast took a fourth-inning lead when Samantha Massaro finally broke the stalemate with an RBI that sent Tayli Filla home for the score after a triple.
Canada pitcher Kaia Gyorfi was able to hold off any further damage with some solid pitching of her own, however, finishing the day with four strikeouts and maintaining a 1.00 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched).
“Their pitcher pitched a heck of a game. It was a really well-pitched game,” said Breadmore.
Southeast didn’t add the insurance runs until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Filla took the plate and sent a two-run shot over the fence to make it 3-0.
The win was Southeast’s seventh of the series and second over Canada, after besting the team from Victoria, B.C., 4-1 in their opener.
“I’ve wanted this for a long time,” said Rodriguez of the title, “so it’s great to finally have it.”
“I didn’t think we were gonna make it this far, but I think we played solid throughout the tournament,” said Canada catcher Kate Phillips. “I’m proud to be here.”
For next year’s World Series, Canada has 10 returners looking to make another run, while Southeast is set to return key players as well, including Rodriguez in the circle.