The Hoboken Shockers won six games at Major League Baseball’s RBI Softball World Series last week, reaching the final four of the tourney before falling to Tampa in the semifinals in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“The girls were excited, but disappointed,” said Hoboken head coach Vinnie Johnson. “Deep in their hearts, they felt they should have been in the championship game. But we made some errors and mistakes in the game against Tampa and that hurt us.”
Johnson said that the Shockers were making a comeback against Tampa, when Natalia Estremera delivered an RBI double that drew the Shockers even. But a base-running mistake cost a run and then Tampa scored twice to pull away.
“We had everyone rooting for us,” said Johnson, who believes that Hoboken had the small-town underdog role facing such larger towns in the tourney. “Everyone got into our girls. They liked our girls because our girls were real kids and having fun. They had everyone upbeat and laughing.”
The Hoboken girls won their share of the individual skills competitions, like Ashley Barron winning a catcher’s competition, Angelique Nieves capturing the longest toss and as a team, the girls won an “around the horn” contest, being the team that threw the ball the fastest around the infield.
All totaled, the Shockers posted a 6-2 record in Florida against some of the best competition in the nation.
“It really wasn’t a bad deal,” Johnson said. “Of course, they wanted to go further, but they were happy with the way they played. It was a great thrill. Just being there was a great experience for the girls. They were treated like they were professionals. Everything was first class. They really made us feel like we were special. These girls may never get a chance to do anything like this in their lives again. It made it very memorable.”
Some of the highlights of the week were the hitting of Justine Mateo, who batted better than .600 and had at least one hit in all eight games that Hoboken played in.
Nieves also had a great tournament, compiling 12 RBI in the eight games. Yaritza Santiago pitched a perfect game against Minnesota and won four games during the course of the week. Erica Colon won two games on the mound and delivered her share of key hits.
“I’m very proud of these kids,” Johnson said. “I told them that they were there to represent Hoboken, Hudson County, and New Jersey. They did that well.”
This concludes the EXTRA INNINGS feature for the summer of 2010. Believe it or not, football season is upon us already.
Thanks to all who helped contribute to the feature. It was a great summer, with the successes of the West New York American Little League team going to the state tournament, North Bergen’s fine 14-year-old squad winning another title, Union City’s Cal Ripken team winning a district crown and capped with the great tournaments by the locals going to the RBI World Series in softball and baseball.
There’s no question that the baseball and softball in the summer months always blossoms in Hudson County and this year was certainly no exception.
Now, it’s on to the gridiron, the soccer fields and the cross country courses. School is about to start as well. Another scholastic sports year awaits. – Jim Hague