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Manila softbelles seek world title

HEMET, CALIFORNIA – Team Manila–Philippines guns for the crown when it battles defending champion Central Hemet Xplozion today in the PONY International U-18 Girls Softball World Series at the sprawling Diamond Valley Park here.

The Big City Softbelles are coming off four consecutive wins to top its pool in the group competition, wrapping up their 4-0 run by clobbering the East Hemet Screaming Eagles, 10-0, in just four innings of the abbreviated game.

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

At the bottom of the first inning, shortstop Angelu Gabriel had a run off an RBI hit by center fielder Christine Bautista to put Manila in the lead, 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, with support from Karen Solitaria, Norman Macasaet and Dr. Esteban Lacson, scored two more 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 scored another run off a grounder by second baseman Nichole Padasas to make it 7-0 in the third, with Manila repulsing a strong effort at a comeback by the Californians behind Padasas and Lacson.