A TEAM official of the Manila squad that won last year’s Big League Softball World Series title has expressed sadness over the decision of Little League International to move the event from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Delaware starting next year.
Kalamazoo was the site of Manila’s title conquest last August when it defeated California, 14-2, in the finale in what turned out to be the last time the city was hosting the event.
Team Manila also had runner-up finishes in Kalamazoo in 2008, 2010, and 2011.
Ana Santiago, head coach of Team Manila, was saddened by the move.
“May mga nabuo na tayong mga kaibigan doon,” said Santiago, who have been to Kalamazoo seven times for the Big League Softball World Series. “Pati mga organizers, kaibigan na rin natin. Nag-email nga sila sa akin at binalita nila.”
Santiago also said that she will miss the enormous support being given by the Filipino community in Kalamazoo everytime the team competes there.
“Even ‘yung Filipino community doon, nalungkot sila. ‘Yung iba, nagalit kung bakit nangyari ‘yun pero wala tayong magagawa dahil desisyon ‘yun ng (Little League International) na ilipat sa Delaware.
"Medyo malayo at bagong pakikisamahan naman,” said Santiago.
Little League International recently announced that after 18 years in Kalamazoo, the event will next be staged in Sussex County, Delaware. Kalamazoo also played host to the Senior and Major League World Series from 1980 to 1993.
Milwood Little League, local organizers of the event, said in a letter to Little League International that it could no longer host the tournament due to the wear and tear on its playing facility.
Santiago, also the concurrent head coach of Adamson softball team, hopes that the Filipino community in Delaware will also show their support once a Philippine team qualifies as the Asia Pacific representatives in the tournament.
“Pero siyempre, may mga Pilipino rin naman doon. Hoping ako na kung ano ‘yung ginawang pag-asikaso sa Kalamazoo, ganoon pa rin o mas mahigitan pa sa Delaware,” Santiago said.