Antolihao throws five-hitter as Team Manila blasts USA West for flying start in World Series
Team Manila veteran pitcher Mary Ann Antolihao in action during its game against USA West champion Antelope Valley–California in the 2015 World Series Girls Big League Softball Championships.

MARY Ann Antolihao struck out eight batters in leading Team Manila to an 8-2 win over USA West on Monday (Tuesday Manila time) to start off its campaign in the 2015 Big League World Series on a high note in Sussex County, Delaware.

The University of Santo Tomas pitcher yielded five hits in a complete game for the Asia-Pacific champions, who scattered 11 hits in the rout of Antelope Valley, California-based West squad in their Pool A match.

It was the first loss for Antelope Valley after earlier beating Central of South Bend, Indiana, 2-1.

Head coach Ana Santiago wants nothing but a finals appearance this year for the team, bannered by the core of reigning UAAP champion Adamson, after last winning the world crown in 2012.

“Focus lang tayo lalo na sa next two games natin at hindi dapat sobrang kumpiyansa dahil hindi naman sila magiging regional champion ng ganun lang. Siyempre meron din ang mga yan,” said Santiago.

The Big City Softbelles will have a rest day on Wednesday (Manila time) after their game was cancelled when Canada withdrew from the meet.

But the team faces USA Southeast champion Morganton–North Carolina and USA Central champion South Bend–Indiana in its next two games on Thursday (Manila time).

In other matches, Southwest defeated Europe-Africa, 12-0, and East downed Latin America, 7-5.

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