CLARK FREEPORT ZONE – The Philippines, represented by International Little League Association of Manila (ILLAM), blasted China, 16-4, to top Pool A and advance to the semifinals of the Senior League Baseball division at the Clark Parade Grounds here Thursday.
The ILLAM batters peppered the Chinese with 11 hits in the abbreviated match, led by the grand slam home run of pitcher Diego Lozano, to complete a 3-0 sweep of the eliminations and a semifinals match up against New Zealand (2-1), the no. 2 in Pool B.
“The boys' hitting was tremendous in this game," said ILLAM coach Larry Icban, whose team readily tagged starter Wan Guo Liang with five hits to seize a 9-0 lead in the first inning and set the tone for the romp.
Diego Lozano, Boo Barandiaran, and Nacho Lozano combined for a two-hitter for ILLAM, which earlier defeated Thailand (13-5) and Hong Kong (4-2).
The Phl Senior Leaguers gun for a finals slot Friday at 8 a.m. against the Kiwis.
“We feel we have a good chance of beating New Zealand because of our solid pitching, plus the boys are well-prepared," said Icban.
The country’s representatives in other fronts of the event presented by Clark Development Corp, Philippine Sports Commission and KFC, also chalked up victories to keep their slim hopes alive.
Philippine Series champion Tanauan City evened its record at 2-2 in Junior League Baseball after ripping India in a conceded game, 7-0.
The Filipino clouters were ahead by 27 runs after one completed inning before the Indians decided to call it a day.
Tanauan occupied fourth place in the standings behind Chinese-Taipei, Saipan, and Hong Kong in the race for the two berths to the championship round.
Tanauan’s entry in Little League Baseball also picked up a second win in four starts, edging out Singapore, 3-2, behind the run-scoring triple of Marty Rañada in the sixth frame.
However, the Philippine Little Leaguers remained at the lower half of the six-team Pool A, where only two teams will advance in the crossover semis.
Meanwhile, the Philippines continues its chase in softball Friday with reigning Big League world champ Manila South, Sta. Cruz, Laguna in Senior League, and Iloilo Province in Junior League taking on Indonesia in their respective divisions.
Iloilo Province had already booked a World Series berth in the centerpiece Little League division.