A good pitching coach helped pitcher Erika Arnaiz and the Bago City softbelles hold almost every opponent they faced with a scoreless result in the 2023 Junior League Softball World Series title in Kirkland, Washington over the weekend.
Coach Francis Fuentes said this as he recalled the team’s preparations for the challenges they faced.
“Iyun ang pinagmamalaki namin. Sabi nga nila, bilog ang bola. Kung nag-training sila, as doble ang training namin,” said Fuentes in an interview on Sports Radio.
Fuentes gave credit to pitching expert Marciano Sta. Maria, a teacher at the Ramon Torres National High School for teaching Arnaiz to have the discipline and stamina to hold her own against rivals, who were much tougher than them.
In the end, Arnaiz finished their campaign with a total of 85 strikeouts, including 15 batters in their final games.
Her teammate, Buenafe, made two RBIs as the students of Ramon Torres National High School handed the Philippines its crown in 20 years in the girls’ 12-14 age bracket.
“Masaya po ako at napaghandaan namin ito,” said Arnaiz.
The Philippine team is made up of Arnaiz, Thereze Francine Fuentes, Ann Dyana Buenafe, Icelle Tanaman, Ashley Ortiz, Froline Manalo, Christine Jane Caracas, Daniela Bejos, Audrie Sarsona, Marie Antoinette Sicapore, Nice Lobrido and Casandra Sumatra.
It has been 20 years since a team from the Negros region took home the crown.
“Magaling lang po magturo ‘yung (pitching coach) namin,” added Fuentes.
In reaching the finals, Team Philippines subdued District 9 Region (Washington) 19-0; Southeast Region (Florida) 4-1; Canada Region (Canada) 7-4; Central Region (Michigan) 10-0; West Region (Arizona) 4-0; and Southwest Region (Texas) 4-0.