After four days of competition in New Orleans (Sept. 16-23), D.C. Swag captured the title in the D Division at the 2018 ASANA Softball World Series. The women from D.C. fought their way back from a deficit in nine of the 14 games they played.
The Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League (CAPS) sent three travel teams to the annual championships — DC Swag, Crazy Pitches and D.C. Sharks. All three teams competed in the D Division.
The Amateur Sports Alliance of North America (ASANA) was created in 2007 as a non-profit organization comprised of women dedicated to promoting the participation of LGBT people in an organized softball competition.
This year’s championships boasted roughly 1,100 players on 38 teams from across the United States. This was D.C. Swag’s fourth appearance in the tournament; their road to the title began in 2011 when the team was formed by Rhonda Jackson and Diana Ring.
“We were looking for an opportunity to play more ball and began identifying women in the CAPS leagues who wanted to be more competitive,” Jackson says. “We started out by playing in regional tournaments in Philadelphia and New York.”
In their first two years of the World Series, D.C. Swag didn’t win a single game. After receiving mentorship from teams in Philadelphia, they rose to a third place finish in 2017. Their victory this year came in a 9-4 win in the championship game over Austin’s Cleats and Cleavage.
“Over the years, Philadelphia showed us how to win. We played through four days of hot weather, rain delays — a little bit of everything,” Jackson says. “We really have a great mix of talent and chemistry. We are a team and a family, and it shows in our play.”
Jackson is from Massachusetts and was a three-sport athlete in high school in basketball, field hockey and fastpitch softball. She was a four-year starter in basketball at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned a master of public health degree at George Washington University and now works as an epidemiologist.
She has been a member of CAPS since 2008 and shares what she loves most about the ASANA Softball World Series.
“I love the competitive level, making new friends and the camaraderie. You get to see all the best players from all the divisions,” Jackson says. “These are people who share a love of playing ball and it is a space where women and athleticism are celebrated.”
The third day of the World Series was PINK day in support of breast cancer awareness. The players from D.C. Swag wore tribute jerseys to honor one of their players, Tonia Jones, who died last year from cancer. They dedicated their win to their fallen teammate.
CAPS commissioner Tony Mace chimed in on what the championship title for D.C. Swag means to him.
“At the ASANA Softball World Series, you are getting the best of every team. Their win meant the world to me as their friend and as league commissioner. I am still on cloud nine,” Mace says. “It has always been my goal to support our men’s and women’s teams in doing the things necessary for them to grow and succeed. D.C. is a city of champions.”