Home Run :Nicaragua finishes strong on Day 1 of Nike RBI softball tournament

The dugout then came alive, with HKRF rallying in the third and crafting a five-run outburst in its final at-bats in a productive fourth.

A leadoff single by Hellen Mendoza and a stolen base set the club up right away. Following Alondra Zapata’s single, the duo put the score at 11-4 by scoring on a wild pitch.

Abril Vallecillo’s two-run double plated the final runners, but the threat and the outcome soon ended there.

Following Nabhan’s little pep talk inside the dugout, the team got an unusual boost from reserve Allison Rocha, who never set foot on the diamond.

Smaller than most suited up in Nicaraguan blue, Rocha provided a large voice in leading support for her teammates.

During their five-run showing over the final two innings, she leaned on the post at the dugout’s entrance and led boisterous cheers and chants as her team mounted its best showing in the game, sparking emotion and passion that had been lacking at the start.

“Since the national [tournament] last year, I took the role to encourage the girls to be upbeat and support the team,” said Rocha through Nabhan’s translation. “I love to encourage the girls and take that role because it’s my way to support the team and make the team even closer together.”


On Day 1 of the Nike RBI World Softball Regional Tournament at the historic Jackie Robinson Training Complex on Friday, the Central American team — named Helping Kids Round First (HKRF) — started slowly and was saddled with an early double-digit deficit but rebounded in a losing effort, 11-6, against Puerto Rico (Carolina) on the Teamwork Turf field.

After HKRF cut the lead to five, play was halted with two outs in the bottom of the fourth due to the matchup reaching its two-hour time limit.

Playing in the shadows of the elite 42 building on a baseball field also used for softball, Nicaragua manager Nadia Nabhan’s group of girls allowed a four-spot to Puerto Rico after one inning but nibbled into the lead, 4-1, on a double-steal in the second. However, the island country’s squad produced seven runs to make it 11-1.

“I felt like our girls were a little disappointed at the beginning or they didn’t have the same energy,” said Nabhan. “But I talked to our girls and said, ‘I don’t see you guys in here. Where are you?’ It was not the team I had seen in Nicaragua, so let’s take this opportunity and make the best of it.”