PH Wildcats move on to 2019 PONY World Series
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ 10U-select Wildcats baseball team avenged their preliminary loss to the Korean team in a tightly fought final — making them the Asia Pacific Zone Champions — at the Phu Nhuan Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on Sunday, June 2.
With the victory, the Wildcats gets the honor of representing the Asia Pacific Region to the 2019 PONY World Series, which will be held from Aug. 2 to 5 in Youngsville, Louisiana.
They will face the champions from the U.S. West Zone. Other champion teams in the bracket are from the Caribbean and North Zones. The defending champion is Mexico.
The Wildcats commanded a 3-0 lead at the bottom of the first inning, with co-skippers Mio Ilagan and Raffy Blaza and ace pitcher Axl Fallorina leading the charge.
Axl Fallorina, catcher Christian Marantal–the Golden Glove Awardee–kept up the pressure in the second inning, keeping their rivals from making any runs.
Then right-fielder Juancho Gatmaitan and left-fielder Jorell Ching gave Korean ace pitcher Park Chan Min a surprise by making it to home plate, adding two more runs for the Wildcats, putting the score at 5-0.
In the fourth inning, however, Korean batter Kim Min Geon and Jung Seok Yong mounted a rally that sparked a four-run rally, just a point shy of tying the Wildcats.
But then the Korean coaching staff made a costly error in that inning, leading to a third out.
In the fifth inning, Wildcats center fielder Santino Malabanan was gifted a balk, sending right-fielder Gatmaitan to home plate again, putting the score at 6-4.
Leading at the top of the sixth inning, the Wildcats only had to keep the Korean from making any runs.
The highlight of this inning was the Wildcats’ last defensive play. With the Korean team having two outs, but with a runner on third base, batter Lee Seo Jun hit a grounder straight to Mustang MVP Mio Ilagan who made an easy throw to catcher Mark Olayvar to give their rivals their third out.
Team members and supporters
The other Wildcats team members are Jaden de Venecia on first base, Quinn Blume on left field, Gelo Panopio on second base, Ken Orata on right field, and Ethan Galvez on left field.
Eric Gesmundo heads the coaching staff, which is composed of Kiko Gesmundo, Ching Geroche, and Tony Olayvar.
The team is supported by IMG PH, Manila Bankers Life, Jollibee PH, Azuthai, BLK 513, Gatorade PH, Balesin Island Resort, Centrex PH, Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro, and the team members family and friends.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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