The Firecrackers will make history this summer as the first ever travel team to compete in Cuba as part of the Softball Multi-Cultural and Exhibition Tournament to be held July 23-28 in Havana, Cuba.

This is a dream in the making for Media City Firecrackers head coach, Manny Travieso, who will be leading this once-in-a-lifetime experience along with his staff. Travieso’s father was born in Cuba, however communism drove his family out of the country. Born in Puerto Rico, Travieso came to the United States when he was 15-years-old but has always held Cuba close to his heart. When he saw that MLB played in Cuba last year he saw it as an opportunity to begin some dialog and found an amazing travel agent who reached out to Cuba Deportes on his behalf. She spoke of Travieso’s passion for the sport, his involvement with the Firecrackers organization, and desire for these athletes to be part of this unique multicultural experience. A few months later he was contacted by Cuba Deportes and invited to take the team in July. As Travieso states, “The rest will be history.”

When Travieso entered the U.S. in 1990 he didn’t speak a word of English. Thanks to his love for the game he was able to fit right in with his high school teammates by speaking a common language; baseball. Another reason Travieso finds so much value in the trip, “None of the girls we will play against and hang out with from Cuba will speak ANY English, but I believe our girls will have the same experience. They will be able to communicate and understand each other because of the universal softball language.”

Finally, when asked what he’s most looking forward to, Travieso responded with this: “I’m looking forward to playing the Cuban National team. This team will be the same team that could play in the 2020 Olympics. It’s a unique opportunity to say you played against this team and you played them in CUBA! Also, the experience these Firecracker girls will have from the stand point of culture and the new friendships they will have when it’s all said and done, will be priceless.”

Below is the list of players committed to play at the Multi-Cultural and Exhibition Tournament this summer:

Dana Ebe – 2017 – Firecrackers Gutierrez, WA  “I am most excited about seeing the Cuban culture including lifestyles, food, people, and scenery. I am also very grateful for having this once in a lifetime opportunity to play softball in this unique country.”



Brianna Heaviside – 2017 – Firecrackers Hernandez/Ensey, CA




Savannah Pinedo – 2018 – Firecrackers Barry, CA




Anais Salinas – 2018 – Firecrackers Media City, CA  “I am most excited about being able to play against a very good and competitive team. I have never traveled out of the country for softball and I’m so excited about being able to create new experiences and memories on the field as well as off. I’m ready to have fun and play hard.”

Haley Gatica – 2019 – Firecrackers Hagberg, IA  “I am excited to go to Cuba to play the game I love! It is going to be a once in a lifetime experience and I am beyond blessed to have this opportunity! What makes it super cool is that most people cannot travel to Cuba and that Cuba is not very modernized so it will be like going back in time which will be exciting to see! I have traveled to several countries as well, such as my dad’s home country Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica. I was lucky enough to be invited to play softball in Argentina where I got to play with, and against their national softball team which was also a very cool experience! It will also be cool to play in an atmosphere that is filled with my culture that I may not see in Iowa.”


Ameryn Humble – 2020 – Firecrackers Humble, CA




Lillyanna Travieso – 2020 – Firecrackers Media City, CA



Cate Ziegler – 2020 – Firecrackers Media City, CA



Rachel Allen – 2021 – Firecracers TJ, CA  I am most excited to be an ambassador of the US, Softball and the Firecracker Organization to a country that was once forbidden to enter.  I am super excited to experience and learn about the Cuban culture, customs, and softball while building bonds of friendship with their young women athletes.  I believe this experience will be life changing. I believe my eyes will be opened larger than ever, experiencing this new part of the world.  My hope is to gain increased knowledge, understanding and compassion.”


Tolly Locket – 2021 – Firecrackers, AZ





Manny Travieso- Head Coach – Firecrackers Media City, CA




Tim Humble – Asst Head Coach – Firecrackers Humble, CA