KALAMAZOO, Michigan -- Manila connected on five home runs to clinch a return trip to the finals of the Big League Softball World Series with an 11-6 victory over Pennsylvania on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).
Home runs by Kristine Joy Lacupa, Rizza Bernardino, Michelle Lentija and Queeny Sabobo, all off losing pitcher Lauren Antosh, put the game away for Manila.
The Manila softbelles, who trailed by two runs after the first inning, moved to the finals where they will face West representatives California on Wednesday.
Manila finished the eliminations with a 6-2 win-loss record tying defending Grand Rapids, Michigan but the Asia Pacific representatives got the right to face California (7-1) in the finals due to the winner-over-the-other tiebreaker rule.
Manila bowed to California, 6-9, in the eliminations but the championship game, which will be broadcast throughout the United States by sports network ESPN2, should be a different story. After that defeat, Manila went on to win five straight victories en route to the finals.
Manila entered the finals after Pennsylvania, which came into the game winless in seven outings, scored three runs at the bottom of the first inning for a 1-3 lead.
Lacupa quickly cut Pennsylvania’s lead with a solo home run in the second inning before Manila hit back-to-back home runs with Bernardino blasting a two-run shot after a lead-off single by Mary Joy Floranza followed by a solo shot by Lentija to give Manila a 5-3 lead.
Then, Sabobo blasted a three-run home run in the fourth frame following a run-scoring double by Lentija for a 9-4 lead.
Pennsylvania trimmed the deficit to three runs, 6-9, but Manila added two insurance runs with another homer by Sabobo in the sixth.