Powerhouse Chinese-Taipei is still unbeaten in the Junior League, while the Philippines and Guam formally arranged their title duel in the Senior League as the elimination round of the 2017 Asia Pacific-Middle East Regional Tournament wrapped up yesterday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
Chinese-Taipei, winner of the last four editions of the World Series, finished the double round-robin elimination with a 6-0 record following a 19-0 thrashing of the Philippines. With its second shutdown victory of the PH, Chinese-Taipei, which is represented by Shing-Ming Junior High School players, did not allow a single run in the entire preliminary round. The defending World Series champions will meet the Philippines for the third time today at 10am as they battle for the championship.
The Philippines earned a 3-3 record going into today’s finale and will need the mother of all upsets to prevent Chinese-Taipei from advancing to the World Series anew.
Chinese-Taipei, which incidentally won its first meeting against the PH players in a similar score, 19-0, showed the Philippines what it may be up against in the finale by winning their second duel in another lopsided fashion. Chinese-Taipei broke the game wide open with a 10-run top of the fourth inning to end the match after only five frames. Chinese-Taipei earlier scored five runs in the first inning and three and one in the third and fifth.
On defense, Chinese-Taipei held the Philippines to a 1-2-3 in the first three innings and denied the latter from becoming the first team to score against the former, as the World Series champions stranded runners on second and third after pitcher Huang Kuantun struck out the last two PH batters. The Philippines had another opportunity to make it to the board in the fifth inning, but Kenneth Torres was stuck at third after Huang struck out Rodelito Oleato for the third out.
The Philippines’ loss to Chinese-Taipei came just a day after the former won back-to-back games against the CNMI. The Philippines scored in the first three innings and held the CNMI scoreless in the first six innings to take a 7-1 victory in their second meeting. Their first duel held last Tuesday afternoon ended in similar scores.
The CNMI also dropped a heartbreaker against Hong Kong in its last game in the elimination. Hong Kong withstood the hosts’ late rally to pull off a 7-6 victory.
Hong Kong led, 5-2, after five complete innings, but was threatened at the top of the sixth when the CNMI forced a deadlock, 5-all. However, the visiting team regained its bearings after tallying two runs in the seventh inning to deny the CNMI the win. Hong Kong finished the tournament with a 2-4 card, while the CNMI had a 1-5 record.
Meanwhile, in the Senior League division, the Philippines eked out a similar close victory against Guam, 8-7, to finish on top of the three-team field.
The Philippines ended the preliminary round with a 3-1 record, while Guam had an even 2-2 mark. The CNMI finished with only one win (versus Guam) in four games.
Ethan Mitschiener scored the winning run off a passed ball at the bottom of the seventh inning. The Philippines entered the last inning behind, 4-7, as Guam rallied at the top of the seventh, recording three runs after failing to hit the board from the third to sixth to break the standoff. However, the Philippines fought back, too as Ezekiel Laygo, Lorenzo Montemayor, and Marcel Guzman posted the first three runs for the PH at the bottom of the seventh to tie the match anew before Mitschiener made the dagger with Guam just one out away from forcing an extra inning.
The Philippines and Guam will collide again today at 1pm for the World Series ticket.