MANILA, Philippines - General Trias leaned on a spectacular pitching by Steven Dominguez as it rallied to beat Canlubang, 6-3, to advance to the quarterfinals in the majors of the Little League Philippine Series at the Sumulong grounds in Marikina City yesterday.
Dominguez, 12, pitched a two-hitter and struck out 11 batters in three innings and spiked it up with a home run to help his team turn an early three-run deficit to a big win.
Coach Ramil Barredo said Dominguez wasn’t supposed to pitch until the last two innings but was forced to field the boy as the Junior Barons seized the initiative early in this annual event bankrolled and organized by the Phl Sports Commission and Little League administrator Jolly Gomez.
“I was supposed to use him (Dominguez) in the last two but seeing that my other pitchers are being hit at, I was forced to send him in early,” said Barredo, a catcher in his days, in Filipino
Canlubang’s loss thus ended the Junior Barons tough stand after topping Group A of the 38-team field for their best finish in six years.
“Great season. It gave us the momentum to pursue our development program to be the best again,” said Andy Locsin, president of the Canlubang Baseball League .
The gambit of fielding Dominguez, who threw a total of 67 pitches, may have backfired on General Trias since its last ace gets an automatic one-day rest against defending champion Tanauan City, which flattened Los Baños, 12-2, due to the 20-pitch rule.
“We’ll just rely on my batters and hope we could beat Tanauan,” said Barredo.
Beating Tanauan though is easier said than done as the reigning champions have brought in five members of last year’s majors winners plus four others who will represent Calabarzon in the Palarong Pambansa set May 4-10 in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
It was also Tanauan which won its first encounter in Group B after it waylaid General Trias, 21-6.
“They say we’re the title favorites because we’re the defending champions,” said Tanauan mentor Romar Landicho. “But I made sure that it didn’t get into the head of my players because most teams here are equally strong.”
Host Marikina continued to impress as it shocked Palarong Pambansa-bound Metro Manila regional titlist Muntinlupa with a pulsating 5-4 victory to forge a quarters showdown with ILLAM, which bashed Gawad Kalinga Smokey Mountain, 14-0.
Over at the Marist field, Bulacan edged Ilocos Norte, 8-7, and San Antonio, Zambales smashed the Ganduyan Bucks of Sagada, Mountain Province, 9-1, to surge ahead in the final-eight.
In the Bicol/Visayas/Mindanao bracket, Iloilo trounced Northern Samar, 8-5, and Camarines Norte dumped Zamboanga, 13-5, to arrange an equally interesting quarters duel at the Boystown field in Parang, Marikina.
In junior league softball at the Marikina Sports Center, Iloilo clobbered Bulacan, 14-4, and Makati edged Illam, 3-0.
In senior league baseball, Muntinlupa bashed the Lipa Barakitos, 11-1, at the Barangka grounds and Illam downed Tanauan, 13-2, in Sumulong.
In senior league softball, GK Smokey Mountain overpowered Bulacan, 15-5, and Sta. Cruz blanked Dasmariñas, 12-0, at Boystown.