Rousing welcome for Bago City softbelles

The Bago City Junior League Softball team.

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The Bago City government unrolled a heroes’ welcome for the  Bago City Junior League Softball team who bagged the 2023 Junior League World Series championship in Kirkland, Washington, USA last week.

The team arrived at the Bacolod Silay Airport Friday afternoon to a rousing welcome from city officials, their respective families, as well as Department of Education (DepEd) officials.

From the airport, the contingent went to the provincial capitol and called on Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson where they presented their plaque to the latter.

Afterward, the team went on a motorcade around the main streets of the city and then finally gathered at Bago City Activity Center where they were further feted by Mayor Nicolas Yulo, Vice Mayor Ramon Torres and local officials.

The Philippines’ team composed of Ramon Torres National High School (RTNHS) softbelles lifted Asia Pacific Region to a 3-0 victory over Eastern Region during the finals match.

Erica Arnaiz struck out 15 batters and Ann Dyana Buenafe recorded two runs batted in (RBIs) to lead the country past Connecticut.

The team swept into the finals after closing the doors for all other participating regions in this year’s world series.

These included District 9 Region (Washington) 19-0, Southeast (Florida) 4-1, Canada Region (Canada) 7-4, Central Region (Michigan) 10-0, West Region (Arizona) 4-0, and Southwest Region (Texas) 4-0.

This unbreakable streak with seven straight wins was a great comeback for the team after having a third-place finish last year.

Other members of the team are Icelle Tanaman, Ashley Ortiz, Froline Manalo, Cristine Jane Caracas, Daniela Bejos, Audrie Sarsona, Thereze Francine Fuentes, Mary Antoinette Sicapore, Nice Lobrido and Casandra Sumatra.

They were mentored by coaches Rolando Fuentes and Leo Dayot, and trainers Josie Sebunga and Sarah Caracas.

Mayor Nicholas Yulo, who was also with the team during the competition, said this was a historic day for Bago City.

For the first time, he said, the Bagonhon team was able to clinch the Junior League Softball World Series championship.

“Softball, a sport that is somehow new to us but with the determination, hard work and dedication of our team, has now become associated with our city after this world championship trophy courtesy of our team,” Mayor Yulo added.

The mayor also congratulated the Bago City Softball Girls “for a job well done and for the honor they brought to the city and the whole country.”

In addition to the coaching staff, the mayor also acknowledged the participation of Francis Fuentes who stepped up to be the team manager and head coach, and the commitment of Rey Fuentes as team founder.

“I thank their parents and family for their relentless support of their children. The same goes to all Bagonhons who prayed for their success and most especially to the Filipino community here in Washington who came out to support our team,” he said.