PORTLAND, Ore. — Even going up against the top softball teams from around the world, the Lake Air all-stars are proving themselves to be world beaters.
Lake Air notched its second run-rule victory in as many days at the Little League World Series, rolling past the Latin America champion from Puerto Rico, 10-0, in just four innings on Thursday. The victory extended the team’s long stretch of dominance over the course of the summer. In their last six games, including those at the Southwest Regional Championships, the Lake Air girls have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 71-4.
Now 2-0 in pool play, Lake Air will be off until Saturday night, when it faces the Asia-Pacific representative from the Philippines, a team that Lake Air coach David Rodriguez said his squad had formed a bond with during the skills competition and opening ceremonies.
Of course, there’s time to be friends and shake hands after the games. Between the white lines of the diamond, Lake Air is showing itself to be all business.
Against Puerto Rico, Lake Air clung to a tight 1-0 lead until blowing the game open in the third. After singles from Ulissa Rivas, Aziyah Flores and a walk from Asharah Thibodeaux, Lake Air’s Serena Guardiola smacked a sharp liner toward third base. Puerto Rico’s Jeisly Lorenzi misplayed the ball, allowing all three runners to score.
Lake Air added three more runs in the inning on singles from Daniella Ramirez, Yanijah Quintanilla and Dominique Rodriguez. The six-run outburst increased Lake Air’s lead to 7-0, and took all the air out of Puerto Rico’s sails.
Ramirez proved formidable in the pitching circle for the second straight day. She struck out six in four innings while walking only one and allowing one hit. In nine innings over two games at the World Series, she has surrendered just four hits and one run.
Lake Air clinched the victory with a three-run bottom of the fourth. Leah Aguilar made it 8-0 when she scored from third on a wild pitch. Shortly thereafter, Ramirez took a pitch off the shoulder with the bases loaded to force in another run, and then Lake Air sealed the win when Quintanilla whacked a sacrifice fly to left to send Thibodeaux plateward.
Thibodeaux walked three times and scored three runs from the leadoff spot, while Guardiola drove in four of Lake Air’s 10 runs. Lake Air also proved nimble on the basepaths, swiping six bags, including two from Serenity Cade-Williams.
Lake Air’s next action at Alpenrose Stadium will come Saturday night against the Philippines. First pitch for that contest is 9:30 p.m. Central time. Pool play continues through Sunday, then the championship rounds will commence on Monday.