Members of the Tanauan team make a victory run around the Rizal ballpark following their win over Indonesia in the Asia-Pacific Seniors League finale.  (Photo by Jun Mendoza)


MANILA — The Philippines, represented by Tanauan and International Little League of Manila (ILLAM), used solid pitching and superb hitting to beat their rivals and topped the Asia-Pacific Seniors and Big League Championships, respectively, at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Field last Friday.

Melvin Rosita allowed just three hits while Christian Mercado batted in a game-best four runs to power the batters from Tanauan to an abbreviated 10-0 romp over Indonesia in six innings for the Seniors League title.

The Tanauan clouters will thus represent the region to the World Series slated Aug. 14-20 in Bangor, Maine.

“We came into the game with a pair of wins in regulation over the same Indonesian team so I told the boys not to play overconfident and stay focused,” said Tanauan coach Chito Mercado.

“I’m glad they responded well.”

ILLAM, on the other hand, drew strength from Filipino-Japanese hurler Tsuyoshi Horibata as it walloped CNMI Saipan, 7-1, to capture the Big League plum and clinch a berth in the World Series set July 7-Aug. 3 in Easley, South Carolina.

The 5-10 Horibata yielded just one run in seven hits in seven complete innings.

“He (Horibata) really asked to pitch in this game because he really wanted to win,” said ILLAM mentor Edgar delos Reyes.

“But aside from our good pitching, our defense and hitting were also solid.”

ILLAM peppered Saipan with 10 hits that translated into seven runs, most coming against relief pitcher Joseph Palacios, who came in early after starter Macgratte Duenas reeled with back-to-back walks to Leandro Banzon and Mark Ong after fanning out Adriane Bernardo in the first inning.

Unlike Rosita, Dedi Utomo failed to handle Tanauan’s battery of hitters and yielded 10 hits and seven runs in four and 2/3 innings, including a three-run blast capped by Mercado’s two-run hit right on top of the first inning that set the tone for the rout.

Horibata also redeemed himself from a pair of mediocre outings against Saipan that resulted to a split, blanking the same squad in the first four innings before he was broken by Jeremy Lizama’s board base on a fielder’s choice, dashed to second and third on Joshua Jones’ double and scoring from a single by Mokki Saralu.

Jones tried to blast another run but a razor-sharp relay throw from centerfielder Vincent Ching to first baseman Charles Catangui to catcher Adriane Bernardo bundled him out of home plate for big save.

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