For Kristen Moldovan, a 15-year-old girl playing on a boys baseball team, making it to the Junior League World Series is special, but a win in the opening game would have made things even better for her and her Massapequa International Little League team.
Massapequa lost, 5-0, in its World Series opener in Taylor, Mich., against a team from Lafayette, La., but the road isn't over just yet. Massapequa, which is representing the East region, will play a team from Rio Rico, Ariz., Tuesday night at 8.
Massapequa will play teams from Indiana and Tennessee during the week as well.
"Playing in the World Series means a lot to me, but it's more about how much it means for the whole team and our community," said Moldovan, a third baseman and pitcher.
The Massapequa group is the first 13- to 14-year-old team to make it to the World Series in the league's 57 years, according to coach Joe Pinto, who added that Massapequa was represented twice before by a senior group in 1964 and 1975, respectively. Moldovan turned 15 on Aug. 1, so she is still eligible for the division.
Moldovan entered Monday night's game in the third inning and played third base. She drew a walk on four pitches in her only plate appearance.
Moldovan, along with Samantha Day, who is playing for the Canada team, became the fifth and sixth girls ever to play in the Junior League World Series, according to Greg Bzura, the competition's director.This is the first year two girls are on teams in the Series, he said.
The two teams that accumulate the most wins advance to the U.S. pool final. The championship against the International pool winner takes place Saturday.
Massapequa trailed 2-0 in the fifth inning, then Miguel Reyes Jr. hit a three-run homer to put Lafayette ahead by 5. Andrew Primm, who Pinto said has "consistently reached base atop the lineup throughout the ride," led Massapequa with two hits and drew a walk in four plate appearances.
Massapequa has been in a similar hole before and came out on top, wining five games in three days to earn the state crown after an opening game loss. Pinto is hopeful they can overcome the odds again.
"Everybody on this team just does their part and if we can continue to do that, then we do have a chance," Pinto said. "This is a resilient group we have."