Sunday, May 10, 2009

Senior League Baseball

The championship predictably went to ILLAM in a 15-5 win over Tanauan. This is the same team that reached the championship of Junior League Baseball in Taylor, Michigan in 2007. Probably the strongest of all the ILLAM teams.

The drama happened five days earlier in the game that decided who ILLAM's opponent would be. Muntinlupa took a 6-3 lead into the 6th inning. Then everything went wrong for Muntinlupa. An error here and there allowed Tanauan to tie the game at 6-6. After a scoreless 7th inning Tanauan walked off with a 7-6 win in the bottom of the 8th inning.

The loss to Tanauan occurred only one day after a loss to ILLAM by a score of 9-4. Though it was a loss. It raised hopes for Muntinlupa that they would have a fighting chance in the championship. But the loss to Tanauan dashed all those hopes.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Now this was a surprise. Bacolod West comes into the tournament with an experienced World Series team. They have the best pitcher in the division with Annalie Benjamin. This group of girls has won every year since they were 11 years old. The loss of two players, particularly Veronica Belleza, did not sufficiently reduce their strength. Bacolod West was the team to beat.

The only credible opposition came from the ILLAM team. But early in the tournament Bacolod West indicated how things were going to go by beating ILLAM 16-1. The elimination round ended predictably:


Bacolod West 6 0


Cavite 4 2

Pasig 3 3

Valenzuela 2 4

Antipolo 1 5

Makati 0

Expectations were high for another easy win by Bacolod West. But ILLAM had other ideas. They came into the game with a determination to win. An excellent pitching performance was turned in by their No.1- Jill Tanaka, who did not pitch in their elimination round encounter.

Final score ILLAM 7 Bacolod West 2

ILLAM will now go to the Senior League Softball Regional in Guam

Friday, May 01, 2009

Rizal Wins Big League Softball

Surprise ? Well not really. Vindication ? Not sure.

It certainly was a novel event to see Rizal win Big League Softball.

Background: Rizal was disqualified in Senior League softball for fielding ineligible players in 2007. There were players from Mindanao and Visayas who played for Rizal then. Rizal tried to qualify them by showing a court ordered guardianship. The guardian was a resident within the Rizal charter. Not so fast said Little League Philippines. There were questions whether this was a bona fide guardianship. The court order stated that the players moved from their homes to Rizal because they were skilled softball players. They moved to further develop their careers as softball players and to qualify them for the competitions they were to join.

Rule changes for 2009 now allowed Rizal to field players from other regions. The Big League tournament was declared District Administered. This Little League rule allows District Administrators more leeway around the very strict charter rules which are applied to the younger age brackets. The second rule change allowed players younger than 18 to declare their dormitory addresses to comply with the residence requirement. Many players from outlying regions failed to qualify to play in the Little League Philippine Series because their parents lived far away from the schools they were attending. A majority of players in Big League softball competition are college players.

The new rule change opened opportunities for many players to participate. One example is Veronica Belleza who represented Bacolod at the Little and Junior League World Series in 2004, 2005 and 2006. In 2008 she enrolled for High School in Rizal but was unable to play in Senior League because of Little League residence rules.

Going in to the tournament Rizal became an instant favorite to win. Despite the rule changes another pre-tournament favorite Manila was unable to field a team. Players from UST were not permitted to join Manila. However Manila was allowed to combine with ILLAM. This combination gave ILLAM the pitching and catching that they lacked. ILLAM/Manila became a solid contender. Santa Cruz, Laguna was a dark horse as they were able to add their former talented players now in college to their very strong high school team. Prior to the Philippine Series Santa Cruz and Rizal played a preview in the Southern Tagalog Region Athletic meet. Rizal won this competition. Another dark horse was Caloocan who interestingly was allowed to combine with UST.

Elimination Round Standings:



Rizal 6 2

Santa Cruz 5 3

Caloocan 3 5

Bacolod East 0

An interesting triple tie was averted when Santa Cruz lost to Caloocan on the last day 5-2. This set up an interesting championship game between Rizal and ILLAM.

Excellent pitching and great fielding by Rizal finally won the day by a 3-2 score. For Rizal, Veronica Belleza pitched the game of her life . She now gets another opportunity to pitch in international competition.

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2009 Little League Philippine Series Summary

Big Surprise in Big League Baseball !

ILLAM with their enormous talent was expected to win. Tanauan however was expected to challenge. Two years ago, with more or less the same players involved, Tanauan won the Senior League championship. Therefore this was a rematch. A chance for ILLAM to vindicate their 2007 loss.

Tanauan got some reinforcements this year though. With Big League being a District Administered tournament Tanauan was allowed to combine with Muntinlupa, who contributed two players to the cause. Makati also had a strong team with players from Marikina added on.

The elimination round went true to form with ILLAM and Tanauan/Muntinlupa topping the standings. ILLAM won their elimination round game over Tanauan/Muntinlupa 6-5.



Tanauan/Muntinlupa 4 1

Makati/Marikina 3 2

Northern Samar 2 3

Taguig 1 4

Camarines Norte 0

In the championship, another exciting game. Tanauan/Muntinlupa were able to scrape through with a 3-2 win. For the Tanauan players another opportunity to go to the Regionals. For the two Muntinlupa players they now officially become the first from that ILLAM spin-off to make it to a regional.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Little League Baseball

Thirty seven teams are entered this year.

They are divided into eight groups. Two teams from each group advance to the single elimination phase. With sixteen teams going into a single elimination format the result of this tournament will be completely unpredictable. Due to pitching restrictions teams will have to dig deep into their pitching staff to survive.

The initial favorite would have to be Marikina based on the result of the NCR tournament. Agoncillo will be another favorite having won the Southern Tagalog tournament. ILLAM will also be fielding a quality team led by players from La Salle Green Hills complemented by several Japanese players. Tanauan, Muntinlupa, Zamboanga, Nueva Ecija, Mountain Province, Cavite and Bulacan will all have a chance to upset the top contenders.

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Junior League Softball


1. Bacolod East
3. Muntinlupa
4. Manila
5. Valenzuela
6. Makati
7. Antipolo

The clear favorite in this division is ILLAM. Two years ago they performed well in the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon finishing fifth place. The team from 2007 is practically intact. Ines Diaz and Czar Buenviaje will lead in pitching. Toni Ondrik and Mei Uy will lead the hitting.

Bacolod East needs to be watched having performed well in this division last year. Muntinlupa has improved but still needs work to be truly competitive. Antipolo will be showcasing its star pitcher, Angie Palacol.

We see ILLAM getting one berth in the final. The second slot will a toss up between Bacolod East, Muntinlupa and Antipolo. ILLAM will win the trip to the regionals in Guam.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Little League Softball

During the pre tournament drawing the teams were distributed into two groups:

Group A
1. Mountain Province
3. Nueva Ecija East
4. Valenzuela

Group B
1. Manila
2. Muntinlupa
3. Cavita
4. Caloocan
5. Bacolod West

The draw went badly for the teams in Group B - Muntinlupa, Cavite and Bacolod West are expected to show up with strong teams. The three will be fighting hard for the two Semi-Final slots.

ILLAM however is expected to easily make it through Group A. We will have to watch out though. Mountain Province rarely fields a team so they are hard to measure. They do have a good program in Sagada and there is always a chance that a good team will show up. Valenzuela is rebuilding a quality program. While this year may not be the year, we all look forward to a strong presence by them. Nueva Ecija East also has a good program and they may spring a surprise.

Group B will be a very interesting and exciting competition. Bacolod West has to figure as the favorite due to past records. Cavite has consistently fielded strong teams. Muntinlupa has its strengths but will need to put its best performance in to make it through this group. Manila can be a dark horse because they are the hosts.

Very likely the Semi-Final cast will be composed of the following: Bacolod West, Cavite, ILLAM and Nueva Ecija East.

The championship game will be a win by Bacolod West over Cavite.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Little League Philippine Series on April 13

The 2009 Little League Philippine Series will be held from April 13 to 19 in Manila. This annual event brings in baseball and softball players from all over the country for the right to participate in Little League Regional competitions. A total of 95 teams are entered in the event.

In a series of articles we will review the contenders in each age division for this exciting event.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

La Salle Zobel Wins 2009 Colt Champion of Champions

In a trilling game De La Salle Zobel won the 2009 TOT Baseball (Colt Division) Championship over Marikina.

Franco Hashimoto scored the winning run in the 10th inning on a bases loaded walk to Carlos Munoz.

Earlier a three run rally by Zobel in the 7th inning prevented Marikina from winning the championship in regulation innings.

Edward Flores provided the leadership for the team by holding Marikina scoreless over the last three innings. He also contributed a couple of extra base hits one of them highlighting the 7th inning rally.

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