Pitcher whose coach got banned from Little League takes long route to Asian Games
Royevel Palma, the 17-year-old pitcher who led the Philippines to the Senior League Softball World Series recently, is set to don the national team to the Jakarta Asian Games starting later next week.
But it wasn’t quite a smooth ride to success for the reigning Palarong Pambansa Most Valuable Player.
Little League Philippines administrator Jolly Gomez said Palma was one of five players from Iloilo who competed in the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon, in 2014.
But her coach was banned by Little League organizers after facing human smuggling allegations when the people he listed as coaches of the team failed to come back to the country and stayed illegally in the United States.
“With their coach banned, the Iloilo team could not duplicate their success and got disbanded in 2015,” said Gomez. “But through (the late) Tanuan City Mayor Tony Halili, Palma and four others were offered scholarships to continue to play softball.”
The five of them then helped form the Tanauan ball club, which has become a mighty force in the school leagues.
Palma went on to hit it big in both local and international stages, leading Tanauan from a fourth place finish last year to the gold medal this year in the Palaro held in Vigan.
Then, representing Asia-Pacific, Tanauan blanked Southwest representative Texas District 9 (7-0) for the country’s first ever SLS World Series title Sunday in Delaware.
In that match, Palma struck out 15 batters, allowing just two hits where she dazzled with her favorite pitch, a rise ball coming from the outside corner.
Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines official Jun Veloso said Palma will join the Blu Girls in the Asiad, having played in the junior team last year in the World 19-under.
The Blu Girls, who dominate in the Southeast Asian Games, is now competing in the World Championships/Olympic qualifier in Chiba, Japan.
However, the Filipinas are now tied at fifth place with a 2-4 record in Group A, lorded over by United States, Puerto Rico and Mexico, in that order.
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