ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Paradise Hills Little League major softball team is heading to the southwest regional tournament in Waco, Texas. It is the first time that Paradise Hills will represent New Mexico as the state champion, and the team is proud to see their hard work pay off.

“I think it’s a good opportunity and we’ve been trying to get this for a long time,” said pitcher Ava Benavidez. “It’s like a great experience, especially being our last year playing at this level. It’s like an amazing thing to get to.”

“Surprised and also happy that we made it this far because I’ve been playing at this league for eight years now and it just feels nice,” shortstop Demi DePaula said.

The team will play its first match on Sunday, July 24 against Texas East, but there is still a lot to do before then. As the team is practicing, they are also raising money for the expenses of the trip. A GoFundMe has been started to help with travel expenses, and they are grateful for the support they have received.

“We completely feel like we have the community support that has really just been pouring into us whether it’s through our GoFundMe, or coming to our practices or anything they can to make it special,” coach DePaula said.

Coach DePaula described his team as “scrappy” and they do whatever it takes to win. Only having lost one game during the state tournament, the green and yellow always seemed to find a way to come out on top either by pouring on the runs or winning in a pitcher’s duel.

Paradise Hills now has the opportunity to show the nation what they are capable of during the southwest regional tournament. Their first game will start at 9 a.m. MT on the 24th, and be broadcast on ESPN+.