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Southeast : Punishers Live Up to Their Name

August 09, 1995

A group of Artesia girls left town last week toting baseball bats and softballs. They returned this week bearing a national trophy almost bigger than they are.

The aptly named Artesia Punishers--11 girls, ages 11-13--won the American Fastpitch Assn.'s championship for their age group in Vernon, Conn. last weekend after winning seven straight games.

The girls had to raise about $1,200 each to attend the national playoffs, selling team T-shirts, washing cars and selling tacos at the ball park.

But Monday, they were driven by limousine from LAX to Artesia City Hall, where relatives and well-wishers waited with red and white balloons, the Punishers' colors.

"We just played like a team," said pitcher Monnaye Bernal, 13, as she posed with the team's nearly 5-foot-high trophy.

The girls' toughest challenge was against a team from Florida they had to beat twice.

"They're really amazing," said Bernal's aunt, Rose Garcia, as she welcomed the champions home. "They play like professionals, like grown men. . . ."

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