If ever a pitcher was deemed untouchable in the game of softball, Asia-Pacific’s Royevel Palma fit that definition last week in the Little League Senior League World Series softball championships, held at the Pyle Center complex in Roxana.
The 16-year-old was brilliant from start to finish, and was the most dominating pitcher in the tournament at any point in the circle. Her efforts, as well as those of her teammates, were clearly the reason the Asia-Pacific squad won the 2018 World Series title.
Representing the Tanauan City Little League organization in the Philippines, Palma and the rest of the Asia-Pacific contingent cruised to a 7-0 win over Southwest last Sunday, Aug. 5, to take home the title, which had been won last year by the local host team from Georgetown.
Palma fired a two-hitter with 15 strikeouts (there were only 21 total outs in the game) to pick up the win and cement herself as the top hurler of the week.
Over the course of the week, Palma tossed 40 innings in her six games inside the circle. She allowed just four runs — three earned — on 17 hits. Perhaps the most staggering number: 71 strikeouts. She posted a 0.53 ERA to go along with her 0.50 WHIP.
There was no score through 2.5 innings in the title game, but that all quickly changed as Asia-Pacific posted a 4-spot in their half of the third inning and another three runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Jeelyn Pajotal got things started with a one-out walk in the third. She would move up to third on a single by Jamm’n Joyce Rasco, who moved into scoring position on the throw trying to get Pajotal. Marika Joana Manaig then singled to right, scoring both Pajotal and Rasco. Mae Langga doubled to the gap in left, scoring Manaig. Palma followed that with a single of her own that scored Langga, to make it 4-0.
In the fourth, April Joyce Rosita singled to lead things off, then Kyla Sophia Aala reached on an error while trying to sacrifice-bunt. Patojal executed a perfect sacrifice to move Rosita and Aala up into scoring position when Rasco knocked in Rosita with a single. Manaig then singled as well, to score Aala, and Rasco came across the plate with the last run after an error by the Southwest right-fielder.
After a leadoff error to start the game for Southwest, Palma retired nine straight, including seven by way of strikeout. A single to center in the fourth by Shelby Lashombe broke up the no-hitter for Palma, but she would then retired nine straight again, with six of those coming via strikeout.
Then, as the seventh inning was coming to a close, with many of those in attendance cheering on the Asia-Pacific team, Palma did what only seemed fitting for the game to end — she struck out the last two batters, sending the team and their coaches into a celebratory frenzy.
Manaig finished with a game-high three hits in her four at-bats, with three RBIs and a run scored. Rasco contributed a 2-for-3 effort with two runs scored and an RBI. Rosita had the only other multiple-hit day for A-P, with her two hits and run scored.
The Asia-Pacific team was coached by Ramil Mercado, Joselito Villanueva and Jerrylfin Geroche.
Extra bases — Haylie Mitchell had the other hit in the game for Southwest, which was representing District 9 out of Waco, Texas. Three different pitchers toed the rubber for Southwest, with Kennedy Parker starting and taking the loss. She was followed by Alex Earhart, then Emily Rader.
By Jason Feather