CLARK FREEPORT ZONE – Tanauan reasserted its mastery over International Little League Association of Manila (ILLAM), 5-2, to enter the Minor League finals of the Little League Asian Pacific Regional Championships at the Clark parade grounds in Angeles City, Pampanga on Friday.
Jefferson Vispo took charge for Tanauan with an RBI (run batted in) homer as they vanquished the ILLAM bets, whom they earlier beat, 12-7, in the single-round, five team elimination series in the 11-12-year-old division.
The Tanauan boys will be going up in the finals against Japan, which out-classed Muntinlupa, 10-0, in the other semis match of the event sponsored of the event sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, Clark Development Corp., Globe, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Limitless Possibilities, Inc.
“May pag-asa kami sa Japan,” said Tanauan coach Ted Landicho, recalling the team’s close 4-5 setback to the Japanese in the eliminations.
Two other local squads dropped out of contention, losing their semifinal matches to Hong Kong in the Little League (11-12-year-old division) and Big League (15-18-year-old) matches, respectively.
Tanauan ran out of pitchers and dropped a close 10-9 decision to Hong Kong in Little League Play while ILLAM was left reeling by a seven-run explosion by Hong Kong in the fifth inning in absorbing a 2-12 shellacking.
Reden Tapia, who relieved spent starting pitcher Jewel Dimapilis at the top of seventh inning , became the goat after throwing a wild pitch, enabling Yoki Tomayama to scramble for home from third base for the winning run in the bottom of the frame.
It was sorry miscue for Tapia, who earlier rekindled Tanauan’s hopes with a two RBI homer at the top of the sixth inning for the locals to seize the lead, 8-6, after falling behind 4-6 as Hong Kong scored two runs each in the first three innings.
But the visitors countered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third through hits off a tired Dimapilis in the bottom sixth to knot the count at 8-all, extending the match to an extra inning where they finally finished the Tanauan boys off.
Hong Kong will contest the Little League championship today with Korea, which deposed defending champion Chinese-Taipei, 9-2, in the other semis.
The other Hong Kong team will battle defending champion Taiwan, which whipped Guam, 12-1, in the other semis, for the Junior League crown also today.
Contesting the Seniors League (13-16-year-old) title are Marianas and Guam.
Reigning Intermediate Division titlist Japan eked out a 9-8 win over upset-conscious Indonesia, arranging a championship showdown with South Korea, which routed Thailand, 10-0, in the other semis.
Taiwan crushed Marikina, 7-0, completing a six-game sweep in retaining Big League (15-18-year-old) championship.
The Taiwanese buried the hapless Marikina bets in an avalanche of 22 runs in the first three innings, prompting their rivals to concede game that resulted in the 7-0 score under league rules.