CLARK FREEPORT—Two Philippine teams launched their 2013 Little League Asia Pacific and Middle East Tournament campaign with emphatic victories yesterday at the Clark Parade Grounds here.
Relying on the superb pitching of Royeve Palma, Iloilo dumped Indonesia, 23-0, in just four and a half innings to gain a headstart in their best-of-five series for the girls’ 11-12 Major League softball title.
Seeing action in the 50/70 intermediate division (50 feet from pitcher’s mound to homeplate, 70 feet in between bases—Ed), Muntinlupa crushed Saipan, 16-3, to join Japan on top of the four-team baseball event played for the first time in the tournament.
Two teams from Tanauan, however, absorbed one-sided setbacks in the boys’ Little League and Senior League competitions.
Indonesia, a team powered by Japanese expatriates, blasted Tanauan, 10-0, in the centerpiece 11-12 tournament. Over at Field 3, Tanauan’s 15-16 baseball team fell in a 0-21 ambush to favorite Chinese-Taipei.
Palma, who struck out a tournament-high 38 batters in the Philippine Series, seemed on her way to replicating the feat with nine strikeouts against Indonesia.
Iloilo got off to a scintillating start, scoring five runs on two hits and an error. All told, Iloilo peppered Indonesia with 12 hits to zoom ahead, 18-0.
“I’m not surprised with the result because we have the No. 1 pitcher here,” said Iloilo coach Reynaldo “Guy” Fuentes, who steered Bacolod to the 2003 Junior League World Series crown in Kirkland, Washington.
In a tremendous display of firepower, Muntinlupa pummeled Saipan with 10 runs in the first inning, highlighted by a grand slam home run from Luis Benedicto, who was one of five pitchers used by coach Joel Palanog. Muntinlupa scored three more runs to take the fight out of the visitors.
With the victory, the Philippines joined Japan on top after the Japanese overwhelmed Guam, 13-1, in an earlier match.
Tanauan got a reality check from the Indonesians, who took a 4-0 lead at the end of the first inning after a two-run homer by Ega Alexander off Marty Ranada.
“We were surprised with this Indonesian team because we’re used to beating them,” said coach Romar Landicho, whose team conceded six more runs in the fourth inning.
Meanwhile, World Series Big League Softball champion Manila South kicks off its campaign against Guam today at the start of round-robin play in the three-team event.
The weeklong event is backed by Clark Development Corp, the Philippine Sports Commission and KFC.