PH softbelles gun for World Series crown

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First baseman Kevyn Lacson of Team Manila-Philippines scores a run during the semifinal match against the East Hemet Screaming Eagles won by the Big City Softbelles and clinching a finals berth in the 2017 Pony International 18-U Girls Softball World Series at the Diamond Valley Park in Hemet, California. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Team Manila–Philippines guns for the crown when it battles defending 2016 World Series Champion Central Hemet Xplozion in the Championship match featured today in the 2017 PONY International 18-U Girls Softball World Series at the sprawling Diamond Valley Park in the 36-acre Valley-Wide Recreation District in Helmet, California.

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The Big City Softbelles is coming off four consecutive wins to top its Pool in the group competition at a clean 4-0 slate after defeating the East Hemet Screaming Eagles in just four innings with an impressive 10-0 regulation game.

Standout pitcher Alma Tauli again delivered a sterling performance with four strike outs and four no run innings, her fourth in four consecutive matches, placing the 16-year old stunner from Norzagaray, Bulacan probably as one of the best pitchers in the Series.

At the bottom of the first inning, short stop Angelu Gabriel had a run off an RBI by center fielder Christine Bautista to put the Softbelles in the lead at 1-0, then at the bottom of the second, right fielder Khrisha Cantor and catcher Aliza Pichon both had one run each though a hit by left fielder Jojielyn Lim to complete a two-run play for a 3-0 lead.

The Manila Batters scored two other runs courtesy of third baseman Madaelene Dumaog and Cantor off an RBI by first baseman Kevyn Lacson, the 18-year old standout from Ateneo, who also had a run off a hit by Lim at the bottom of the third.

Lim herself scored another run off a grounder by second baseman Nichole Padasas to lift the Softbelles, 7-0 at the end of the third inning and then at the top of the fourth, the Californians came back strong but a rock-steady performance by pitcher Alma Tauli and an impressive defensive stop completed by Padasas and Lacson halted the rally of the second host team.

Three more runs were scored by the Softbelles courtesy of Bautista off an RBI by second baseman Therese Macasaet, who in turn had a run herself off a hit by Cantor, who also scored through a catching error to seal the match at the bottom of the fourth via a 10 – 0 regulation game.

“I think this is quite a strong and balanced team and I believe the girls have what it takes to win the championship crown,” added Manila Softball President Rafael “Che” Borromeo. The Central Hemet Xplozion, which is one of the two host teams, won over the 2017 West Zone champion San Bernardino Bombers in their semi-final match in Pool B to clinch the other finals berth and will face the Big City Softbelles at 12 noon (3 a.m. Monday in Manila).

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