Sunnyside Little League World Champions meet with Gov. Jan Brewerby Andy Morales on Oct. 09, 2013, under Sports
Alyssa Ortiz had to pull her Little League jersey off of her wall because the Challenger Middle School seventh grader had a date with the Governor. Ortiz was one of the 13 Sunnyside Little League softball players who caught the imagination of the state of Arizona when they won the World Series back in August and Governor Jan Brewer came to pay her respects.
“I’m shocked that she would come down here to see us,” said Ortiz. “But I’m also very excited. It’s a good feeling knowing everyone wants to celebrate what we did.”
Challenger eighth grader Arlett Arreola echoed what Ortiz had to say. “I never thought her staff would have her come down here to see us. I feel honored that she will take a picture with us.”
Arreola started playing softball at Mission Manor Park when she was just five years old and she knows the significance of what the championship meant to the Sunnyside Community. “A lot of people on the south side appreciate what we did,” said Arreola.
“I know it’s just a good feeling for everyone.”
Some of the champions hung their purple jerseys in their closets, some put them up on a wall like Ortiz but not pitcher Jazmine Ayala.
“Williamsport wanted my game jersey for the Hall of Fame,” Ayala explained. “We sent them my real jersey and they sent me a replacement to have for a year.”
Ayala’s number “6″ game jersey will be displayed at the Little League Hall of Fame for a year so the organization sent her a another jersey to wear at events but it has number “17″ on it. Ayala sleeps in her replacement jersey.
“I still get nervous at these events,” added Ayala. “But I am starting to get used to it. This one is pretty huge.”
The team had a signed game ball ready for Governor Brewer and she arrived on schedule at the park on South 12th, just north of Valencia. Brewer became one of a handful of governors who have visited the south-side park over the years. Former governors such as Raul Castro and Bruce Babbitt attended several events at the park in its rich political history.
Former University of Arizona standout football players David Adams, Jerry Beasley and Jon Horton played youth football there and it hosted the 1992 Junior League Baseball World Champions and now the Sunnyside Little League Softball World Champions.
Gov. Brewer told the champions that they made her feel special to be from Arizona when they beat Virginia 9-0. She talked about how the whole state was watching them even though they may not have known it while they were playing in the game.
The champions know it now. They have met everyone from congressmen, the Governor, the Mayor and everyone in between like the Diamondbacks and Tucson Padres.
Brewer promised the girls the signed ball will be displayed in the 9th floor of the state building for the world to see and she welcomed the team to come and take a field trip to see her in her office.