THEY’RE finally back!
After missing the Philippine Series for almost six years, the Negros Occidental Little League Baseball and Softball Association Sluggers successfully redeemed themselves as the country’s top softball teams when they captured the major and senior divisions’ titles in the recently-concluded tournament at the Gov. Mariano Perdices Memorial Coliseum in Dumaguete City last week.
The Negrense major leaguers mentored by Rolando Fuentes and Edmund Palmamento with team manager Ma. Luzviminda Jalandoni outplayed their Smokey Mountain counterparts in 6 innings, 8-4 with 3-0 in the first inning. But, Smokey Mountain held the Sluggers with a 2-0 output in the second inning to cut the deficit to 2-3.
However, the champion side tallied 2 homes in the upper 3rd inning followed by one apiece in the fourth and fifth to extend their lead to 7-2 before letting go of 2 homes to Smokey Mountain in the final inning.
En route the finals, the Negrenses survived Saranggani, 5-4 in the crossover semis while Smokey Mountain stunned Bulacan, 12-9.
In the eliminations, Negros Sluggers lost to Bulacan, 12-8 but got up to sweep Smokey Mountain (10-0), Saranggani (8-0) and Dumaguete City (11-1).
Meanwhile, the older Negrense softbelles coached by Liezl Joy Garay, Aileen Cabaybay and Romeo Camporaso with team manager Roselle Hulleza had some tough games with a close opening victory over Bulacan, 10-8 followed by a 4-5 loss to Tanauan in 10 innings. But, the champions returned with solid performances against Dumaguete City (12-0), Muntinlupa (10-0) and International Little League of Manila (9-4).
In the semis, the Negros Sluggers dropped Bulacan again, 5-1 before finally surviving Tanauan in the championship game, 1-0 with a great run in the final inning.
With the win, the Negros Occidental-based teams will represent the country in the
upcoming 2017 Girls Softball Asia Pacific Tournament in Singapore from June 14 to 18.
On the other hand, the Little League Philippines and the Department of Education entered into a Memo of Agreement today to jointly develop baseball and softball in the Philippines.
This means that Little League will be using the Palarong Pambansa program as its grassroots sports program and will use the Palaro as qualifying tournaments for intermediate baseball, big league baseball, little league softball and big league softball.
There are 220 School Divisions all over the country and it is the goal of Little League to promote baseball and softball in all these divisions to help support our sports programs.