“The girls deserved the win,” said Ana Santiago, head coach of Team Manila, which recently made history by sending defending champion Central Hemet Xplozion down to its knees with a 7-1 win to capture the 2017 PONY International 18-U Girls Softball World Series crown in Hemet, California.
“We were able to keep our composure and were not intimidated by the defending champions so our errors were limited,” added Santiago.
The impressive title run, the happened at the Diamond Valley Park, enabled the PH softbelles to become the first team from Asia to win the prestigious tournament.
It was hurler Alma Tauli who made the great story possible, said Santiago. The 16-year-old native of Norzagaray, Bulacan, capped her dazzling performance with five strike outs and six no run innings as the Philippines ruled the event for the first time.
Team Manila’s scoring assault started at the top of the first inning with centerfield Christine Bautista and designated hitter Shaina Camacho scoring two runs off an RBI by right fielder Khrisha Cantor to complete a two-run hit play.
The softbelles took a 3-0 lead in the next frame after short stop Nichole Padasas, the 18-year-old from Adamson and member of Team Manila-Philippines to the 2015 Big League World Series, belted a homerun – her second in the tournament.
Central Hemet prevented what could be an embarrassing shutout loss with a homerun in the lower fourth frame. But their celebration was cut short by Tauli, who delivered a couple of strike outs and the Softbelles put up several defensive stops to seal the outcome.
Santiago credited the team’s composure, especially by Tauli, for the win.
According to Manila Softball president Rafael “Che” Borromeo, Team Manila, backed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), is being invited by the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles.
Rodolfo Tingzon Sr., founder of Pony in the Philippines and Boy Tingzon, the current Pony director for Asia Pacific, said Team Manila became the first Philippine team and Asia for that matter to rule the competition.
Team Manila also won the crown in the 2012 Big League 18-U World Series.