Manila Softbelles beat South Hemet and Redlands in World Series

HEMET, CALIFORNIA – Team Manila–Philippines launched its bid to defend its crown in the 2018 PONY World Series 18-Under Girls Softball Championships with a brilliant win over a game South Hemet XEL, 12 – 0, in a match that needed only three innings at the jam-packed Diamond Valley Park inside the 36–acre Valley–Wide Recreation District here.

Standout pitcher Glory Alonzo, a 17-year old native of Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental, delivered an impressive performance with a total of five strike outs and two no run innings, including a couple of skillful defensive stops to lead the Manila Batters to their first win in this World Series.

But it was at the top of the first when a barrage of runs put the defending champions at 6 – 0 after an RBI by first baseman Cleofe Magsayo paved the way for two runs courtesy of short stop Angelu Gabriel and second baseman Mary Joy Maguad, which jump-started the Big City softbelles’ scoring spree until the top of the third inning,

Four more runs by Magsayo, Alonso, centerfielder Khrisha Cantor, highlighted with a one-run homerun by outfielder Alaiza Talisik, gave Team Manila, whose trip here is backed by Mayor Joseph Estrada, the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), and HMR Trading House, a commanding 12 – 0 lead, was capped by three strike outs by ace hurler Alma Tauli at the end of the third inning for an abbreviated match.

In the second double header battle against Redlands South California, top pitcher Tauli, the 17-year old stunner from Adamson yielded a homerun to third baseman Maxine Ortega of Redlands that put the Manila softbelles behind, 0 – 1, at the top of the first inning.

Irritated by the rare homerun against last year’s World Series best pitcher, Tauli delivered six straight strike outs that had Redlands awed, including an RBI by first baseman Cleofe Magsayo off a catching error for three runs courtesy of shortstop Angelu Gabriel, first baseman Karen Nicole Chavez and pitcher Alexandria Romero-Salas, 3 – 1 at the bottom of the second.

Standout catcher Aliza Pichon, the 18-year old native of Misamis Occidental from Adamson, blasted a homerun at the bottom of the first inning to give Manila the lead, 7 – 1, until the bottom of the third when shortstop Angelu Gabriel blasted another one-run homerun for a 9 – 1 score.

From the third to sixth innings, two promising 15-year old pitchers took turns on the mount led by Cleofe Magsayo and Alexandria Romero-Salas, combining for a total of three no-run innings except for the top of fifth when Salas gave up a homerun to Redlands’ outfielder Elleen Hernandez, 9 –2, until time expired at the bottom of the sixth.

In tomorrow’s (July 26) double header match, the Big City softbelles will battle Moreno Valley and the San Bernardino Blake before facing off with San Jacinto Mayhem on Friday, July 27 in a lead up to the crucial semifinals berths on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).