Host Philippines suffered a stinging 1-6 loss to Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to find itself on the brink of elimination in the 2016 Asia Pacific Senior League Baseball Tournament on Wednesday at the Clark International Sports Complex at The Villages in Subic.
Philippine representative ILLAM failed to get its hitting going and surrendered three costly runs in the third inning that gave the 2015 champs the momentum to score their first victory in three starts.
ILLAM slid to its second straight loss and would need to sweep its last two games and hope for favorable results in the other matches to possibly salvage a place in the finals.
Australia had put a lock on the gold medal game as it stormed to its third straight win via an emphatic 33-0 rout of Indonesia in the day’s opening-encounter. Idle Guam (2-0) stood at second followed by embattled CNMI (1-2), Philippines (0-2) and Indonesia (0-2).
Over in the Intermediate Baseball hostilities, Philippine bet Sarangani blew an early 3-1 lead as it bowed to defending champion Korea, 3-20, in regulation.
The Sarangani batters, who came off a 21-2 spanking of Indonesia, dropped to 1-2 and virtually bowed out of contention.
With its second win in a row, Korea caught up with idle Japan at the top. Hong Kong, which drubbed Indonesia in the other game, stood third with a 1-1 card.
ILLAM battled CNMI on even terms after two innings, 1-1, but the Saipan batters gained the upperhand with a three-run binge off Philippines’ fielding errors and a hit in the fateful third.
“Our hitting didn’t click again; we were making solid hits but they (CNMI) managed to defend it. They got one good inning where they made three runs and we’re not able to retaliate and they got the momentum going,” said ILLAM coach Egay de los Reyes.
For its part, Sarangani jumped the gun on the Koreans with three error-aided runs in the bottom first for a 3-1 margin. But the Koreans countered with an 11-run splurge in the top second to turn the tables around and made it a one-sided affair the rest of the way.