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Sports

Manilans edge US Central for semis No. 1

The Philippine Star

Ma. Celestine Palma blasted a solo home run while Riflayca Basa pitched a four-hitter to lead Asia-Pacific champ Manila South to a 1-0 victory over USA Central and the top spot in Pool A heading into the semifinals of the Big League Softball World Series Thursday at Comisky Field in Lower Sussex, Delaware (yesterday in Manila).

Palma, a standout catcher from UST and a mainstay of the gold-winning Blu Girls in the Southeast Asian Games, blasted Nichole Kirkpatrick’s 1-2 pitch far into right field to score the marginal run for the Manilans, who finished group play with 3-0.

Basa, tapped to give ace pitcher Mary Ann Antolihao a well-deserved rest in this game, proved her worth in a seven-inning stint, coming through with two outstanding defensive stops en route to shutting out their rivals from South Bend, Indiana.

“Indiana was expecting Mary Ann (Antolihao) to pitch, but they were surprised with Riflayca (Basa), who did a very good job. Now, the other teams know that our bench is actually deep with talent. We expect our other veterans to deliver in the next game at crunch time,” said coach Ana Santiago, opting to reserve Antolihao for the crucial stages of the tourney.

The Pinay softbelles will seek to sustain their fiery form as they gun for a finals berth against Pool B No. 2 USA Southwest (District 5-Louisiana) on Saturday (Sunday in Manila). Pool B topnotcher Host District 3 Delaware and Pool A second-placer West (Antelope Valley, California) are in the other semis pairing.

The match, set at 5 p.m., will be aired on ESPN.

“Louisiana is a strong team but our girls will surely give them one hell of a good fight to reclaim the world series crown,” said Manila Little League president Rafael “Che” Borromeo, whose side is determined to duplicate its title run in 2012.

The Big City bets’ campaign is backed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, Philippine Airlines, and International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI).

 

ACIRC

ANA SANTIAGO

ANTELOPE VALLEY

ANTOLIHAO

BASA

BIG CITY

BIG LEAGUE SOFTBALL WORLD SERIES THURSDAY

BLU GIRLS

CELESTINE PALMA

COMISKY FIELD

DELAWARE AND POOL A

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