Playing minus its ace pitcher, Tanauan City saved its best game for last to rule the 2018 Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Junior Women’s (18 & under) Softball Championship recently at the Sto. Niño Field in Marikina City.
The team from Batangas pulled the rug from under early favorite Rizal in the championship match, 6-3, to claim its second straight title behind the steady pitching of “Diday” Palma, sister of last year’s MVP Royevel Palma.
Royevel was not allowed to join this tournament due to her standing in the national team and her masterful performance in the 2018 Senior League Softball World Series Championship in Waco, Texas where she collected 14 strikeouts in leading Tanauan to the world title.
Tanauan had to hurdle past Bulacan teams San Miguel and Sta. Maria in the page system format final round to earn the right to face Rizal for the crown.
Rizal had actually dominated the Cebuana Lhuillier-backed tournament going into the final round and even scored an 8-4 victory over Tanauan in the semis but succumb to pressure in the payoff match as Palma, replacing Diane Pasco as lead pitcher, went steady on the mound for Tanauan in the final game.
“I commend and congratulate Tanauan City for its back to back championship in the U-16 women’s junior softball, ASAPHIL needs cities and LGU’s like Tanauan and others who also supported their local teams to join the tournament for us to maintain our developmental program in women’s softball, “ said ASAPHIL president and long time sports patron Jean Henri Lhuillier.
“Maganda yung pitching ni Diday at nag-click yung defense namin,” said Tanauan coach Lito Villanueva who also led the team to two Palarong Pambansa crowns. “Although nakaapekto sa amin yung pagkawala ni Royevel Palma, naging maganda naman ang laban.”
Rizal committed a couple of fielding errors at the bottom of the second inning that gave Tanauan its first two runs.
Tanauan added four more runs in the fourth as Rizal committed three more errors to give the defending champs a 6-0 advantage.
Rizal tried to rally in the seventh and final inning as pitcher Alexandra Romero-Salas hit a homerun that also sent Roma Jane Cruz home. Sathia Nicole Romero-Salas, then, scored a base hit that also sent Mariel Grace Sumanting home but that was all Rizal could muster in the game.
Rizal, however, walked away with the top individual awards as Sumanting was named MVP, Best Pitcher (22 innings piched, zero earned run) and Best Slugger (35 total bases, 30 at bats, 1.26 average) and Alexandra Romero-Salas won as Best Hitter (19 hits, 27 at bats, .703 average) and has the most number of RBIs (24) and Homeruns (6).
Sta. Maria’s Mary Rose Letegio, meanwhile, has the most number of stolen bases (5) even as Tanauan’s Diday Palma was chosen as MVP for the series (finals).