Jazmine Ayala & Yannira Acuña combine for a perfect game to help send Sunnyside to the Little League World Series Championshipby Andy Morales on Aug. 13, 2013, under Sports
Little League Softball World Series
Portland, Oregon: August 8 – 14
Sunnyside pitchers Jazmine Ayala and Yannira Acuña combined for a perfect game in the semifinal round of the Little League World Series as Sunnyside run-ruled Puerto Rico 10-0.
Ayala took the circle to start the game off and she dominated the Latin America champions with four strikeouts in two innings of work and then Acuña took over from there and shut the door on Puerto Rico with two strikeouts of her own.
Puerto Rico (2-3) beat Ohio (2-2) on Monday night to get to the semifinal round and Sunnyside took care of New Jersey (3-1) in their qualifying game. Sunnyside needed nine innings to get past New Jersey but that was not going to happen against Puerto Rico.
Sunnyside had several chances to score in the first two innings but they broke through in the bottom of the third with nine runs to basically put the game away. Viviana Orantez hit an RBI double and an RBI triple in the inning while Acuña and Alexis Anderson added doubles of their own. Acuña started the whole inning off with a single.
Puerto Rico committed five errors in the game but those were attributed to the speed and aggressive play by Sunnyside.
Sunnyside ended the game in the bottom of the fourth on a lead-off single by Arlett Arreola and a hit-by-pitch issued to Anacely Gutierrez. Alex Tapia moved both runners over and then Arreola trotted home on a wild pitch for 10th run. By rule, Sunnyside won after four innings via the 10-run mercy rule after four innings.
Acuña went 2-3, Orantez went 2-2, Arreola went 1-2, Tapia went 1-2 and Anderson went 1-1. Ayala, Gutierrez, Jaylen Marquez and Alyssa Ortiz picked up important walks in the game.
Sunnyside will now play McLean, Virginia (4-0) for the Little League championship on Wednesday night at 8 pm. Virginia beat New Jersey 6-3 in the other semifinal game held earlier in the day.
The Buffalo Wild Wings on West Irvington was standing room only during the game against Puerto Rico. The gathering of the Sunnyside community was put together by Kristen Romero.
Romero’s daughter Rachelle played with the group of girls when the team won the 9-10 state playoffs last year. That team went 4-0 and steamrolled the competition by a score of 45-4. Rachelle was too young to move up with the current team this year.
“I am so excited,” said Kristen in a packed and noisy crowd. “I am happy they came through for our community.”
Also in the crowd was Sunnyside High School junior Rebecca Rodriguez. Rodriguez has committed to play college ball at Ball State and she came to the gathering to offer support for the team. “I feel really proud that the girls went out and represented us,” said Rodriguez.
“They went out and put Tucson’s name out there.”
The night was bittersweet for Jazmine Ayala’s family. Jazmine’s mom, Monica Fregoso Ayala passed away in 2008, just two months before Jazmine’s older sister Alexis was to pitch against Pusch Ridge in the Little League Juniors Regional held in Tucson.
Monica was an ace pitcher herself in the Sunnyside Little League program when she was a child and her talent rubbed off on her three daughters.
“I feel sad and I feel great,” explained Jazmine’s Nana, Cristina Fregoso. “I have both emotions but what can we do? I am so proud of Jazmine.”
That Pusch Ridge team was led by none other than former Canyon del Oro standout Kayla Bonstrom. Bonstrom went on to earn High School Gatorade Player of the Year honors for Arizona before she headed out to Stanford and was named Freshman of the Year for the Pac-12 Conference.
Pusch Ridge went on to win the World Series over Puerto Rico by a score of 10-4. It is a small world and everything is connected in some way.
Don’t be surprised if Jazmine’s name pops up a lot on these pages in the near future and Alexis is now a senior pitcher at Sunnyside High and she wears number 21…just like her late mother.
The Sunnyside community will meet once again at Buffalo Wild Wings to cheer on Arizona at 8 pm. The game will be televised on ESPN2. 36 televisions were dedicated to the game on Tuesday night.
I should say, this is our team. There will be no other sporting event in Tucson that is more important Wednesday night – every TV in Tucson should be tuned in.
Wednesday, August 14
Sunnyside vs. Virginia, 8 pm (ESPN2)