"Nineteen? That's pretty good."
To hear Nadia Diaz tell it to the Syracuse Post-Standard in the video above, her otherworldly 19-strikeout performance in a recent Little League game was just another ho-hum day on the diamond. Playing with the boys in the "Majors" level of the Southside American Little League, Diaz produced a statline that doesn't even seem possible. In a six-inning game, she managed 19 strikeouts. As Diaz explains in the video above, there was a dropped ball (by the catcher) that allowed a batter to reach first despite being struck out. Thanks to that, she ended the first inning of her masterful performance with four strikeouts.
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Of course, in her family there isn't much new about such baseball success. As reported by the Post-Standard, her uncle is former MLB catcher Benito Santiago. Playing with the Blue Jays in 1997, Santiago had a front-row seat to a stellar Cy Young Award-winning season by Roger Clemens. On perhaps his best day of that season, the Rocket K'd 16 at Fenway Park.
Sixteen? That's OK.
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Santiago isn't the only established baseball talent in the family. Per the Post-Standard, journeyman MLB pitcher Nelson Figueroa is a second cousin to Diaz. During his stint with the Mets in 2008, The New York Times reported that Figueroa had 14 family members in attendance at Shea Stadium during one of his starts. While it's not clear if Diaz was part of that family outing, there is little doubt that baseball runs in the family. Jose Diaz, Nadia's father, is listed as the coach of Syracuse Glass on the league website, where Nadia is the only girl listed on the roster.
In her home state, a boy, 13-year-old Keeling Pilaro, was temporarily barred from playing on the girls' field hockey team at his high school. If Diaz keeps up performances like this, it's possible that some of the boys will look to keep her from playing against them in Syracuse.
"It's fun," Diaz says of pitching against the boys in the video above to The Post-Standard. "The boys, sometimes they think they're all that. But when I go up there and pitch, they go, 'whooo.' It's a funny reaction."