Latin America debuts with shutout over Southwest
After their opening day bye, the ASOFEM Little League, playing out of Maunabo, Puerto Rico, and representing Latin America, looked as ready as ever on Monday, shutting out the USA Southwest team out of El Campo, Texas, 7-0.
After three slow innings, the Latin American team came alive at the plate, as Galis Lozada’s shot to left field moved her to third to lead off the fourth inning. She made it home after a wild pitch. Danyanira Figueroa followed shortly after when Anabel Sanchez’s single to center field brought her home for a 2-0 lead in the fourth. They returned in the fifth at the top of the order as Dayanira Diaz tripled and was brought around, thanks to Lozada.
Five more runs came in the sixth and seventh innings, including two RBI’s that scored on Patricia Ortiz’s late shot to the right-field gap. Karla Garcia, Lozada and Sanchez were each credited with an RBI apiece. Strong defense from Latin America’s infield, including an acrobatic play from shortstop Lozada to keep the bases empty in the sixth, sealed the shutout.
Steady pitching fared well for Latin America, too, as the mound saw some action from Jocelyn DeLeon, Michelle Rivera and Anabel Sanchez throughout the game. DeLeon registered nine strikeouts in four innings, while Rivera and Sanchez picked up two and one, respectively. Erica Reyes and Michaela Bram combined for three strikeouts for the Southwest.
“We were really focusing on hitting,” said Latin America manager William Garcia of the fourth inning, “and once they got going, that’s when everything started. I told them to just go for it.” The ASOFEM Little League is the only team in this year’s tournament that has owned two different Little League World Series titles, including the 2008 Senior League World Series Championship.
Despite the 7-0 shutout, Garcia recognized that the competition would only be getting tougher as the week progressed.
“Tomorrow’s game is just another one,” he said. “We have to come back and do our job.”