“Bien!, bien!, bien!”
Those were the words yelled from the left fielder of the Latin American team to her pitcher during Sunday’s early game at the Junior Softball World Series at Everest Park in Kirkland.
From the West squad’s dugout, a coach offered, “Come on, girls!”
About a half an hour later, cheerful girls from the Italian team sang songs in their native language. When members of the University of Washington marching band played, the Italians locked arms and danced and laughed.
It was a true international gathering on the opening day of the 20th annual series, which will run through Aug. 4 and features the host Redmond team, along with squads from Bacolod City, Philippines; Ponoka, Canada; Bologna, Italy; Caomo, Puerto Rico; Poland, Ohio; Cranston, Rhode Island; Tampa, Florida; Smithville, Texas; and Santa Clara, Utah.
On Sunday, people from the United States and beyond were already enjoying their time at the event.
Gabriel Clavell, a parent from the Puerto Rican team, was thrilled to be at the event.
“I think it’s pretty cool. It’s a nice opportunity to get to know the people from other states and around the world. I see the girls all happy, they meet each other, they try to talk to each other,” he said.
From Utah, manager Jeremy Mooring’s squad defeated Puerto Rico, 7-1, in one of the first games on Sunday morning.
“It was exciting to get out there and play, kind of get the jitters out, but it was also fun to play against another team from a different country. The girls were excited. They (Puerto Rico) were a great team, so we had a great time,” said Mooring, who added that team interactions are what the series is all about.
All the way from Italy, manager Filippo Colanna (who was assisted by interpreter Vanessa Tuci) said he and his team are glad to be representing their country.
“It’s very good, we are very happy to be here because this is a great tournament,” he said, noting that his players’ joviality is all part of the softball atmosphere.