Iloilo batters earn Softball World Series berth

CLARK FREEPORT ZONE - The Philippines sent a qualifier to the Little League Softball World Series as Iloilo Province captured the Asia Pacific and Middle East title on a rainy Wednesday at the Clark Parade Grounds here.

PH-Iloilo dumped Indonesia in regulation, 10-0, to complete a 3-0 sweep of their best-of-five duel for the regional crown and book a corresponding trip to the world championship slated Aug.8-14 in Portland, Oregon. The Ilonggas had previously stamped their class on the Indons, 23-0, and 10-6.

Iloilo's softbelles reached the World Series only in the second-year of their Little League program.

"I think we have a chance because we have four pitchers and our top two pitchers are both good plus our batting is okay," said manager Rey Fuentes, who is returning to the World Series since steering Bacolod to the 2003 JLS plum.

The Pinays pulled off the clincher despite getting outhit by the Indonesians, 0-1. They benefited from the 16 walks issued by Chantique Milenissa to score four runs in the first frame and six more in the third while No. 1 hurler Royeve Palma struck out six batters and yielded a solitary hit.

Their counterparts in the other softball competitions, led by world titlist Manila South in the Big League, boosted their respective quests with masterful romps of their foes.

Phl-Manila South overwhelmed Indonesia, 33-1, to storm to its second straight win in the three-nation, double round-robin battle for the APME 16-18 diadem. The Manileñas only need to repeat over Indonesia and Guam on Friday and Saturday to repeat as regional champs and return to the world tilt.

Also within two victories off World Series berths are Phl titlists Iloilo Province (Junior League Softball) and Sta. Cruz, Laguna (Senior League Softball), which steamrolled their respective Indonesian rivals in similarly abbreviated fashion, 30-3, and 18-3.