ILOILO scored a double victory as its Little League Softball and Junior League Softball teams turned back their rivals from the Big City to highlight Sunday’s finale of the Little League Philippine Series 2013 in Barangay Altura in Tanauan City.
The Iloilo bets hacked out a 4-2 victory over International Little League Association of Manila to complete an unbeaten run to the girls' softball 11-12 age-group crown and get back at their tormentors in last year's final.
A few hours later at the adjacent diamond, the Ilonggas' stalwarts in the 12-14 age-group hostilities blew a seven-run lead but recovered in time to beat Muntinlupa in extra inning, 13-11, and make it two-for-two for the delegation.
As Philippine Series champions, Iloilo's Little Leaguers and Junior Leaguers will represent the country in the Asia-Pacific Series that the country will be hosting in June in Clark.
"We reached our target and now it's time to prepare for the Asia Pacific Series," said Rey Fuentes, head coach of both teams.
Pitcher Royeve Palma starred for Iloilo, hurling a two-hitter and striking out 13 batters in a no-relief job. She also contributed offensively by scoring one of the team's two runs in the bottom second that gave the team a 2-1 lead.
"Our pitcher (Palma) player well, she had it under control from the first to sixth inning," said Fuentes.
Ma. Aleona Langga contributed two runs for Iloilo, which beat ILLAM despite a no-hitter by the latter's hurler Therese Macasaet.
After seizing a seemingly insurmountable 10-3 lead, Iloilo's Junior League softbelles fell into a spate of errors and surrendered eight runs in the sixth inning, including a two-run homer by Jamie San Suan, and found themselves down by one, 10-11
They found a way to punch in the equalizer in the seventh and hold Muntinlupa scoreless in their turn at bat, forcing the extra inning. Kate Teves and Dezza Barredo then pounced on the opportunity to reach the plate in the eighth for a 13-11 lead then the Ilonggas held off Muntinlupa's batters to salvage the win.
"I told them to keep their presence of mind and focus on the game," said Fuentes, a former Philippine Blu Boy who previously coached Bacolod in the Junior League World Series.