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Bago softbelles make history as Junior World Series champs

Bago City Mayor Nicholas Yulo with the Bago City Junior League Softball team after winning the 2023 Junior League World Series championship held in Kirkland, Washington, USA over the weekend.*contributed photo

The Bago Junior League Softball team defeated seven other regions and made history for their city by winning the 2023 Junior League World Series championship held in Kirkland, Washington, USA, on Saturday, August 5.

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

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

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

This is indeed a victorious day for Bago City and the Philippines, he added.

Erica Arnaiz struck out 15 batters and Ann Dyana Buenafe recorded two runs batted in (RBIs) to lead the country past Connecticut that represented the Eastern Region in the finals, a press statement from Bago City said.

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.

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.

Yulo said “our world champions deserve no less than a hero’s welcome when they arrive. I have already instructed personnel to prepare for their homecoming.”

The mayor said that he hopes that the team’s triumph will inspire young Bagonhons to aim high and dream bigger.

The softbelles from Bago City gave the country its second championship in the girls’ 12-14 age bracket 20 years since a team from Bacolod City took home the crown.*

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