BAGO City in Negros Occidental is known for its historical and natural resources, and a boxing hotbed having produced the Velasco brothers -- Mansueto and Roel -- who won silver and bronze medals for the Philippines in the Olympics.
Bago added another feather to its cap after winning the 2023 Junior League Softball World Series crown and putting the country on the international sporting map.
This time, the Negrense softbelles rose to prominence with their sensational run in the annual tournament for girls 12 to 14 years old.
This was the second time the country took home the Junior Softball World Series title and the first time in 20 years after Bacolod won the event in 2003.
Bago went undefeated in ruling the tournament, going 7-0 and surrendering only five runs all throughout as representatives of the Asia Pacific Region.
The triumphant Philippine campaign also saw the birth of a dynamic and talented pitcher in Erica Arnaiz.
Arnaiz hurled curve balls and devastating rise balls to baffle the opposition, recording a total of mind-boggling 85 strikeouts in the US campaign.
She pitched a no-hitter with 17 strikeouts in the quarterfinals when Bago demolished Arizona, before capping her sensational performance at the circle with 15 strikeouts in the finals against Milford, Connecticut.
When it was all over, when the final out was made that secured their memorable victory, the girls broke down in tears as they hugged each other on the field in an eruption of joy and to the delight of a big Filipino contingent that turned out to support the girls.
Then, the team's catcher, Mary Antoinette Sicapore, grabbed a Philippine flag and led the girls to run around the field and exchange high-fives with supporters to celebrate the victory.
The nation's colors indeed soared high in America, and that made us proud to be Filipinos.