Team Manila–Philippines beat Redlands South California, 4-3, in a close and thrilling battle as the Californians gave their all in the final day of seeding for teams seeing action in the 2017 PONY International 18-U Girls Softball World Series at the sprawling Diamond Valley Park inside the Valley-Wide Recreation District in Hemet, California.
A run by 2nd baseman Nichole Padasas off an RBI by designated player Shaina Camacho put the Manila Softbelles in the lead, 1-0, early at the top of the first inning.
But starting pitcher Mery Ann Ramos, who was supposed to give standout pitcher Alma Tauli a well-deserved rest in preparation for the quarterfinals match today, Friday (Saturday in Manila), fell short and gave up two runs and a walk to give Redlands the lead, 1-2, at the bottom of the third.
At the bottom of the second inning, head coach Anna Santiago called in to the mount Tauli, who in turn responded by delivering another impressive performance to lead the Manila batters on the top of the seeding phase with a 2-0 card.
Tauli, an incoming scholar of Adamson University and a native of Bulacan, had four strike outs and yielded just one run to Redlands in six innings to take control of the match for the Big City Softbelles, whose trip here is backed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI).
But it was Padasas, the 18-year old veteran from Adamson and member of Team Manila-Philippines to the 2015 Big League World Series, who silenced the Redlands crowd after blasting a huge homerun at the top of the third to even the score at 2 -2.
A homerun by Redlands putthem back on top, 2-3, at the bottom of the fifth inning, but the Manila Batters came back strong at the top of the sixth and were on full base courtesy of center fielder Christine Bautista, Camacho and left fielder Khrisha Cantor, capped by a run by Bautista off a pitching hit to even the score at 3-3, despite failing to capitalize on the opportunity, having three outs while on full base.
Then it was Padasas’ RBI which gave the Manila Batters again the lead, 4-3, with a run by Gabriel at the top of the seventh, while the Big City batters led by pitcher Tauli stood their ground with three brilliant defensive stops to seal the game, as well as the top seed in this World Series.
“It doesn’t matter now which team we would face in the quarterfinals, but whichever, our girls will surely give them a good fight,” added Manila Softball President Rafael “Che” Borromeo.
Team Manila–Philippines will square off with the winner between Coachella Valley Chaos and Redlands South California, both already with two loses, today at 7 p.m. (Saturday at 10 a.m. in Manila).