Team Philippines suddenly groped for form against Saipan and took a 6-2 loss in the Asia Pacific Big League Championship Monday at the Rizal Memorial diamond.
After a rousing 7-0 shutout of Guam on opening day, the host team, composed of players from the International Little League Association of Manila (ILLAM), found a wily Saipan crew to be a tough customer and took its first loss in the tournament.
The ILLAM team just didn’t find the right antidote to a Saipan crew that should have played tired against the Filipinos. The visitors played a double-header on Monday, beating Guam, 6-1, in the morning to lead the field with a 2-0 card.
The Philippines Senior League representatives from Tanauan, however, made up for that setback also on Monday. A 4-3 loser to Guam on opening day, the Tanauan kids humiliated Indonesia in an abbreviated 15-1 victory to stay in contention with a 1-1 won-lost record.
The Batanguenos were overpowering all game long, scoring four quick runs right in the first inning against pitcher Hanin Dio Baskoro. Mandy Castillo kicked off the rout, while Jake Mendoza went 2-3 and batted in four runs in the match.
Dugout strategy also played a key role for Tanauan as Andrew Mercado and Norvin Macayanan hit successive sacrifice flies in the first inning that drove home Lourence Ruiz and Melvin Rosita.
Mendoza’s first hit to deep center sent Christian Mercado home to complete the first-inning explosion.
Perhaps confident of the win, Tanauan took it easy in the second frame when it failed to score. But the Philippine team spewed fire anew in the third inning with three runs followed by an eight-run explosion in the fourth inning marked by Mendoza’s two-run double.
Indonesia’s Jerry Rahman prevented a shutout, getting on base on an error, reaching second on a wild pitch, and advancing to third on a fielder’s choice. He rushed home on a passed ball as Tanauan looked complacent at the bottom of the fourth inning.
Tanauan and Indonesia meet anew at 1 p.m. Tuesday with the host expected to come up with another rout.