Smokey Mountain bags softball title in Little League Regionals

Posted at 07/03/14 5:31 PM

Tondo kids qualify for Little League Softball World Series

Smokey Mountain’s Mary Joy Tabanes is poised to hit in Senior League softball action in the Little League Asia Pacific Regional Championships held at the Clark parade grounds inside the Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City. The Smokey Mountain girls won, 11-10, to win their best-of-five title series at 3-1.

CLARK FREEPORT ZONE -- Mary Joy Tabanes hit a two-RBI (runs batted in) homerun in the bottom of the third inning, rallying Smokey Mountain to a gripping 11-10 win over Guam to capture the Senior League softball crown of the Little League Asia Pacific Regional Championships at the Clark parade grounds in Angeles City, Pampanga on Thursday.

Tabanes homered over the center field fence, sending home Madeline Villamor and Lovely Ridaya to fuel the comeback of the Smokey Mountain girls after falling into a 3-7 hole when the Guamanians erupted with six runs in the top of the third.

Her efforts didn’t go to waste as Smokey Mountain scored two runs in the bases-loaded seventh, with Grace Malalon stealing home before Ella Martinez scored the winning run on the Guamanian first baseman’s fumble on a relay of Gelay Llave’s hit to short.

The locals wrapped up the best-of-five series with the visitors at 3-1 in the event sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, Clark Development Corp., Globe, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Limitless Possibilities, Inc.

The squad made up mostly of players whose families live near – and often live on - the Smokey Mountain dump site in Tondo, Manila will now have the opportunity to represent the country and the region in the Little League Senior Softball World Series scheduled from August 3-9 in Lower Sussex, Delaware.

The Smokey Mountain batters became the third Philippine softball team to win a title in the Little League Asia Pacific qualifiers after Manila South and Iloilo retained their Big League (14-18-year-old) and Little League (11-12-year-old) titles, respectively.

Meanwhile, International Little League Association of Manila subdued Guam, 7-4, forging a three-way tie for first among ILLAM, Guam and Marianas in Pool A of Junior League (12-14-year-old) play in baseball.

Under the tie-breaking system based on least runs given up, Marianas, which had 18, was eliminated to set up a semifinal showdown between ILLAM (13) and Guam (17) on Friday.

Tanauan topped ILLAM, 12-7, for its third win in four games in the Minor League baseball division (11-10-year-old division) and likewise arranged a semifinal showdown between the two teams also today.

“Winning the championship was a bonus after all the hard work we have put in. We give the honor to God,” said Smokey Mountain coach Manny Llave, a PE teacher at Antonio Villegas High School where majority of the girls come from.

“Your girls really fought hard and it was a very exciting match up to the last inning,” said Guam team manager Rick Pocaigue. “I hope they do well in the World Series.”

Llave has been running a program for the poor youth in the community, using softball and baseball to send most his players as means to secure athletic scholarships, including Tabanes and Martinez, who will be incoming freshmen at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

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