Manila Softbelles top Pool in World Series
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HEMET, CALIFORNIA – Team Manila–Philippines survived an early surge by a talented San Jacinto Mayhem in a thrilling battle yesterday as the Californians gave their all in the final day of seeding for teams seeing action in the 2018 PONY World Series 18-U Girls Softball Championships at the sprawling Diamond Valley Park inside the Valley-Wide Recreation District here.
Starting pitcher Glory Alonzo, who has been delivering impressive performances since the start of the Series, was giving top pitcher Alma Tauli a well-deserved rest in preparation for the crucial cross-over eliminations today, but fell short and gave up an early one-run homerun to the Valley Mayhem, 0 – 2, at the top of the first inning to the delight of the huge partisan crowd.
The 17-year old Alonzo kept her composure and took control of the match with brilliant stops from then on for the Big City Softbelles, whose trip here is backed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI).
But it was at the bottom of the first inning when 15-year old heavy-hitting Alexandria Romero-Salas exploded with a one-run homerun of her own to level the score at 2 – 2, which silenced the huge hometown crowd.
At the top of the third inning, head coach Anna Santiago called in to the mount pitcher/first baseman Cleofe Magsayo, who in turn responded by delivering another fine show to lead the Manila batters to the top of the final seeding phase with four strike outs, three no-run innings, capped by a couple of two base hits.
“Inaasahan namin si Glory (Alonzo) at Cleo (Magsayo) na bumato ng maganda para makapahinga ng husto si Alma (Tauli). Malalim naman ang bench at madaming talento kaya umaasa kami na magde-deliver ang ibang players natin,” said head coach Anna Santiago.
At the bottom of the third, consecutive base hits by shortstop Angelu Gabriel, Magsayo, Romero-Salas, and outfielder Alaiza Talisik combined for a total of four runs to put the Manila softbelles on top at 6 – 2.
Led by pitcher Magsayo, the Manilenyas stood their ground at the top of the fourth with brilliant defensive stops to keep the San Jacinto Mayhem’s final attack at bay.
And at the bottom of the fourth after a barrage of base hits, the Big City softbelles were twice on full base courtesy of centerfielder Khrisha Cantor, outfielder Karen Chavez, Gabriel, second baseman Mary Joy Maguad, Magsayo, Romeo-Salas, Talisik, and third baseman Madaelene Domaug, to seal the game, 12 – 2 on regulation time, as well as the top seed in this World Series.