The Seminoles 8 and under softball squad started the NAYO tournament by making an immediate statement with an 18-1 win in its opener.
They enjoyed being in the winners’ bracket so much that they never left it. The girls from Brighton went 5-0 in Alabama to capture the NAYO championship in late July.
“It was hot. Our kids were dripping sweat. They were tired, hot, dirty, but they were battling,” said coach Daniel Nunez Sr.
The Seminoles followed up their lopsided win in the first game with another 18-1 win and then won 7-4, 12-11 and 14-5 in the championship game against the Diamonds.
“Our girls were pumped up. They were jumping around. For some of them, it’s their first year [of softball],” said Nunez, whose team had five rookies. “We hit the ball really good and our defense made plays that we needed.”
Staying in the winners’ bracket made a huge difference, especially in such warm conditions. A year ago at NAYO, the team battled through the losers’ bracket – which requires teams to play more games than on the winners’ side – only to lose in the final.
“Last year we were exhausted coming from the losers’ side,” Nunez said.
This year the team edged the powerful Mississippi Sparks by one run to reach the final. After the game, Nunez declared free snow cones for everyone.
“That really helped,” he said.
Flavored ice gave way to giant rings the following game, which was the reward the Seminoles received for winning the championship.
“They look the like the size of Super Bowl rings,” Nunez said.
Seminole 8U NAYO softball champions
Head coach: Daniel Nunez Sr.
Asst. coach: Cheyenne Nunez
Asst. coach: Lalo Rodriguez
Asst. coach: Carla Rodriguez