THE Philippine Habagat baseball team bowed to Japan, 2-4, on Monday and fell into a semifinal match-up with defending champion Chinese Taipei in the Pony League Asia Pacific qualifiers at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Habagat nine, which trounced Russia, 26-1, to open its campaign on Sunday, gave up four unearned runs in the middle innings and failed to hold on to the lead one-run lead it opened right in the first inning.
That left the Filipino batters aged 11 to 12 in a tough semifinal showdown on Tuesday against Chinese Taipei in the short tournament that will pick the region's representative to the Pony League World Series in Washington, Pennsylvania.
Japan, which earlier blanked Russia in the first of its double-header, gained the top seeding in Group A and will take on Group B runner-up South Korea in the other semis starting beginning at 8 a.m.
"If you've noticed, all the runs of Japan were unearned, but I guess that's the name of the game," said Phl Habagat coach Mike Ochosa.
Daisuke Shimuka and Issei Shimokado crossed home plate after a throwing error and fielder’s choice in the third to give the lead to the Japanese, 3-1, before Yuta Agne advanced home on a bunt in the fourth.
Marvin Trillana had an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh but Habagat could not mount a comeback.