The Philippines blanked Guam, 7-0, to kick off its campaign in the 2011 Asia Pacific Big League Championship at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium on Sunday.
“We played a [perfect] game. Our hitters [Charles Catangui and Mark Ong] were on target while we also displayed solid pitching. Our defense also was solid as we didn’t commit a single error,” said Philippine head coach Edgar delos Reyes.
Catangui and Ong highlighted the shutout with stinging RBIs. The host team, represented by the International Little League Association of Manila (ILLAM), alternated four pitchers who limited the Guamanians to just two hits.
The locals were indeed near flawless in the match, peppering Guam with seven hits.
The ILLAM squad is favored to dominate the three-country Big League division because it has nine players in its roster who saw action in the 2007 World Junior Series and 2010 World Big League Series.
The first two innings were scoreless, as the Pinoys seemed to measure the opposition. In the third inning, Guamanian starter Andrew Taijeron walked three ILLAM batters, before making his day miserable by giving up a base hit for the Philippines’ first run courtesy.
Catangui then blasted a two-run single to deep left field that batted in Tsuyoshi Horibata and Ong for an intimidating 3-0 Philippine advantage.
In the fifth inning, Catangui continued his onslaught with an RBI single to score Ong, who later exploded with his own three-run double in the sixth frame.
Starter MJ Gante (1 and 1/3 innings) and Horibata gave up the only two hits to Guam, while relievers Ramos and Ching were responsible for two strikeouts.
However, the Philippines failed to make it a double victory when its team in the Senior League lost to Guam, 4-3.
The Philippines and Guam each has a team competing in both divisions. Indonesia is the third team in the Big League, while Chinese Taipei is the third squad in the Senior League.
A team that sweeps the double-round will be declared automatic champion. If no one sweeps, the top two teams will dispute the title Friday.
The champions of each league will represent the region in its division’s World Series. The Senior League World Series will be held in Bangor, Maine, USA, from August 14 to 20 and the Big League in Easley, Southern California, from July 27 to August 3.