Sunnyside Little League Wins Arizona’s First Little League Softball™ World Series
For the first time in 23 years, the Little League Softball™ World Series champion is from the West Region. After defeating McLean, Va., 9-0, the Sunnyside Little League team from Tucson, Ariz., became the state’s first-ever Little League Softball World Series champion.
In front of a crowd of 2,300, Arizona’s red-hot offense blew the game wide open in the bottom of the fourth inning, nearly reaching the 10-run rule. With a 3-0 lead heading into the inning, Alexis Anderson smoked a double just over the head of the left fielder, scoring Angel Sallas and Danitza Aguirre. Anderson scored four pitches later on a triple by Yannira Acuna that she drilled to deep center field. Acuna was 2-4 with one RBI and she scored two runs.
But that was only half of the scoring done that inning. Acuna scored on the very next pitch on a passed ball, followed by a double by Jazmine Ayala. The next batter, Arlett Arreola, hit a hard ground ball to third base that resulted in a double and scored Ayala. Arreola was the team’s ninth run across the plate on a left field single by Anacely Gutierrez. The six-run fourth inning gave Arizona the momentum and pitcher, Ayala, control of the game.
Ayala pitched all six innings, allowed two hits, struck out five McLean batters and most importantly was the winning pitcher. Ayala is the daughter of Coach Rene Ayala, who won the Junior League Baseball World Series in 1992. Now there is another World Series champion in the family. The team from McLean could not get their bats rolling at Alpenrose Stadium in Portland, Ore., on Wednesday night.
Arizona was hot from the start, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. The West’s leadoff batter, Acuna, scored on a sacrifice fly to right field, hit by Arreola. Viviana Orantez was quick to follow after stealing third and crossing home plate as a result of a passed ball.
The Tucson team scored their third run in a similar fashion to their second, as Ms. Orantez scored on a passed ball.
Arizona scored all of their runs against McLean’s pitcher Rachel Remer. Remer pitched 3.2 innings, allowed seven hits, nine runs (eight earned), and five walks. She was relieved in the fourth inning by Riley Simon, who saved the team from being run-ruled and did not allow a hit in 1.1 innings pitched.
This was the 20th Little League Softball World Series held at Alpenrose Stadium, and Arizona made Little League® history becoming the 14th state to win the banner. The only International team to win the World Series was Puerto Rico in 2001.