On Tuesday, July 25, the 14U Babe Ruth Softball World Series was held in Martin County, and the winning team was the 14U Royal Palm Beach All-Stars.
During the World Series competition, Royal Palm Beach played 10 games, winning eight of them. Their only losses were against a team from Madeira Beach, Florida, and a team from Puerto Rico. As it turns out, the Royal Palm Beach squad faced those two teams again later in the tournament, during the single-elimination rounds. This time, Royal Palm Beach prevailed, outscoring Madeira Beach, 10-9, in the semifinal round, and then outlasting Puerto Rico, 16-6, in the championship final.
This was the third trip to the Babe Ruth Softball World Series for this squad in as many years. After falling short in 2021 and 2022, the third time was the charm for the 14U Royal Palm Beach All-Stars.
According to head coach Ed Bianco, the biggest key to the team’s overall success this year was a deeper pitching staff.
“We didn’t have enough pitchers during the last two years,” Bianco said. “We added some good pitchers to our team for this year.”
The three main pitchers for Royal Palm Beach were Caroline Duncan, Yanaira Andrade and Jazz Borjas. “I had total confidence in each of those players when they pitched for us,” Bianco said. “They were outstanding.”
There were some statistical stars on the Royal Palm Beach All-Stars. The team’s best hitter was Andrade, who led the team with a .622 batting average. Gabriela de los Reyes had a team-leading 11 RBIs, and Bailey Nixon, the team’s starting catcher, was the tournament MVP. She had the most extra base hits with six.
Defensively, de los Reyes had a team-leading 27 put-outs. During the World Series, she played four different defensive positions: pitcher, catcher, first base and third base. “Gabi was the cleanup hitter in our lineup this year,” Bianco added. “And she was our fourth pitcher.”
As a way of honoring top players from the championship teams, de los Reyes — who had 10 hits, scored eight runs, drew five walks and never struck out — was the subject of a player-profile post on Babe Ruth Softball’s Facebook page. In addition to an image of de los Reyes in her Royal Palm Beach uniform, a few interesting facts about de los Reyes were displayed on Facebook. For instance, she bats and throws right-handed. In school, her favorite class is TV production. Not surprisingly, her favorite interests and hobbies are related to sports, as she enjoys watching softball, baseball and volleyball.
During the 10 games played by the 14U Royal Palm Beach All-Stars at the Babe Ruth Softball World Series, they played teams from Australia, New Jersey, Indiana, Florida and Puerto Rico.
Prior to winning the World Series title, the team won the South Florida district title in Wellington on June 2, and then won the U14 Babe Ruth Florida State Championship on June 26 in Lake City. The team entered the World Series competition with a perfect, 10-0, record.