June 18, 2018
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Philippines stars roll by Nova Scotia for first victory in Senior League World Series

By Joe Sturzl, Special to the BDN

BANGOR, Maine — Asia-Pacific champion Makati City, Philippines overwhelmed Canadian champ Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Wednesday at Mansfield Stadium in a five-inning 15-1 victory during Pool A play on day four of the Senior League World Series.

Canada starting pitcher Kenzie Lahey threw 41 pitches in the first inning alone, walking four and giving up three runs in the process. Asia-Pacific scored all three runs in the first inning without a single hit.

“I think it’s just the fatigue from being on the road 16 or 17 days maybe just starting to catch up to them, I really don’t know. It’s not what I saw in Canadians and it’s not what I saw here,” Nova Scotia manager Derrick Hanna said.

Lahey threw 84 total pitches in 2 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs on six hits while walking six and striking out one.

Asia-Pacific starter Marco Mallari pitched very well, giving up one hit in two innings while striking out four and walking none.

“The pitches that were working were my fastball and curveball. I think my knuckleball was a little off today and I didn’t show off my splitter,” Mallari said.

Asia-Pacific’s first victory in the Senior League World Series also brought a sense of relief to the team.

“It feels great, it’s a huge weight off of our shoulders going on to the next game to see if we can do it again,” Rafael Esguerra said.

“Once the rain stopped, we warmed up right away just to make sure we were back in our game and make sure we were ready,” Mallari said. “Today we played better than the other games. We woke up from the jet lag and showed what we got.”

Asia-Pacific’s record improves to 1-2 in Pool A play while Canada finished the tourney at 0-4.

Asia-Pacific’s offensive surge continued in the second inning, scoring three runs on three hits highlighted by Esguerra’s two-RBI single. Esguerra paced Asia-Pacific, reaching base on all four at-bats with two singles, two walks, two RBI and two runs scored.

“We try to stay patient and not do too much with what was given to me. I like to steal bases too, so I just tried running as much as I could,” Esguerra said.

After allowing another run in the top of the third inning, Canada’s only run came in the bottom half when Patrick Lahey led off with a triple hit to deep right field. Ryan Lawless walked and stole second base before Robert Parsons laid down a bunt that drove in Lahey and moved Lawless to third. Asia-Pacific relief pitcher Raf Eala struck out Jordan Breen on the next at-bat to end the threat.

Parsons led Canada with one single and one RBI.

Asia-Pacific batted through all nine spots in the fourth inning, featuring five runs on five hits with Eala, Dan Laurel, and Phons Balagas all recording RBIs.

Five errors throughout the game also contributed to Asia-Pacific’s 15 runs.

“We made a lof of mental mistakes today. There is better competition here than there is in [the Canadian championships], most of them play ball 11 months a year, we play two. I’m OK though, I’m pleased,” Hanna said.

Three errors in the fifth inning and an RBI double for Joaquin Billbao helped score the final three runs of the game for Asia-Pacific.

Mallari said this game was his team’s wake-up call after dropping its first two games, and hopes to continue the winning ways in its final Pool A game at 10 a.m. Thursday against U.S. Southeast champion Martinez-Evans Little League of Martinez, Ga.

“We have to go into [Thursday’s game] with a positive attitude and with the momentum we got out of this game. Hopefully luck is on our side,” he said.

The ride for Canada is over, but Hanna said he is proud of the team for making it this far, and the team will stick around and watch the remainder of the tournament.

“[I told the team to] just enjoy it. It’s something you will never do again in your lifetime. Hopefully if we ever get back we will be a little more focused and be more prepared to play,” Hanna said. “We’ll still come down here as a team. We’re here until Sunday so we’re going to watch the semis, finals, as many games as we can get to.”

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