Manila Softbelles barge into World Series Semis

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HEMET, CALIFORNIA -– Defending champion Team Manila–Philippines showed fine form as it outclassed anew Moreno Valley California, 12 – 0, yesterday in the final day of group competition in the 2018 edition of the PONY World Series 18-U Girls Softball Championships at the packed out Diamond Valley Park inside the sprawling Valley-Wide Recreation District here.

Top pitcher Alma Tauli, after a day’s rest, again delivered a stellar performance with five strike outs in two no-run innings and a couple of fine defensive stops as the 17-year old native of Norzagaray, Bulacan limited the Moreno Valley batters to a few hits to lead Team Manila to a semi-finals berth for the second straight year and boost their bid to defend the crown.

Shortstop Angelu Gabriel started the onslaught with a run off a base hit by first baseman/pitcher Cleofe Magsayo, who likewise scored via a steal off a catching error, followed by a base hit by outfielder Alexandria Romero-Salas, who also had a run off a hit by centerfielder Khrisha Cantor then another by left fielder Jojielyn Lim off a single by catcher Aliza Pichon, capped by a stolen run by Gabriel off a second catching error to finish the bottom of the first inning with a commanding 7 – 0 lead.

And it was at the bottom of the second when the Big City Softbelles, backed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) scored three straight runs led by Romero-Salas, pitcher Glory Alonzo and third baseman Madaelene Dumaog, that left the Valley batters, which earlier won over High Desert Quakes, in awe with a quick 10 – 0 deficit.

At the bottom of the third, the tandem of second baseman Mary Joy Maguad and Romero-Salas again scored two runs off an RBI by outfielder/first baseman Karen Chavez to complete a 12 – 0 win for an abbreviated match.

“If we keep our composure, limit our errors, and maintain our momentum, we will surely have a big chance to reach the finals and maybe win as back-to-back Champions,” said Team Manila Softball President Rafael “Che” Borromeo.

“Syempre masaya tayong lahat sa panalo dahil crucial ito at must win situation para umabot sa semi-finals. Kukunin na natin ang panalo laban sa Riverside Laces,” said head coach Anna Santiago.

The Manila Softbelles, who leads Group C with an unbeaten slate, will battle the Riverside County Laces, which outlasted the Coachella Valley Chaos, today, Sunday to determine the bracket’s front-runner for the Finals, while the other semi-finals match-up is between West Zone Champion Central Hemet Xplosion and the San Bernardino Blake also to determine which team will play in the Championship game.

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