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Howley scores tying run in win over tournament champions

Throws out three runners trying to steal

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

During the Triple Crown International Challenge youth softball tournament June 24-26 in Westminster, Colorado, Baylee Howley scored the tying run in her team’s win against the eventual tournament champions and also threw out three base runners trying to steal.

Although Howley is a lifelong Fallbrook resident, one of her grandfathers was born in the Philippines and she was part of the Filipino national youth softball team which participated in the 2021 and 2022 Triple Crown International Challenge tournaments.

“It was super exciting,” Howley said.

Team Philippines played three exhibition games June 23. The matches were against the 18-and-under Team Israel girls, the 16-and-under Team Israel competitors, and the 18-and-under Team Japan players. Howley was one of three Team Philippines catchers; during each of the two games against the Israeli teams, the three catchers each had a couple of innings behind the plate while Howley caught all seven innings against Team Japan.

In an exhibition game, assessing how the team played is more important than whether the team won or lost. “It was really good. I felt we played well as a team,” Howley said.

The 18-and-under portion of the tournament included 19 teams who were initially divided into pools. Team Philippines was in a pool with Team Canada and Team Israel. Team Canada defeated Team Philippines by a 5-4 margin June 24 while Team Israel took a 3-0 victory over the Filipino girls later that day. Howley caught half of each of the June 24 games.

The pool play results included a cross-pool game June 25, and for Team Philippines that was against Team Polynesia, who eventually won the tournament. The 9-8 Team Philippines win was the only loss for Team Polynesia during the tournament.

Howley, who was the Team Philippines catcher for the entire game, batted in the bottom of the seventh with Team Polynesia holding an 8-7 lead. Howley doubled to right center field. She had to hold up when a subsequent batter hit a fly ball which landed on the outfield grass so Howley was only able to advance to third on that play, although the batter was able to reach second. A passed ball scored Howley to tie the game and advanced her teammate to third, which allowed a sacrifice fly to drive in the winning run.

“It was really exciting,” Howley said. “We put a really big statement of being the only team that beat Polynesia.”

The 1-2 record in pool play pitted Team Philippines against Team Netherlands to open bracket play which began June 25. A 7-0 victory advanced Team Philippines to the match later that day against Team Spain. Howley caught half of the game against Team Netherlands.

Howley was the designated hitter but did not catch during the game against Team Spain. A run in the top of the seventh gave Team Spain a 4-3 victory and sent Team Spain to the quarterfinals June 26 while eliminating Team Philippines from further tournament competition.

Howley was pleased with her performance as a batter as well as behind the plate. “Did really well,” she said.

Last year all of the Team Philippines players were from Southern California. The 2022 team included girls from Northern California as well as Southern California. “I can’t wait to see what the girls will do next year and years after that,” Howley said.

Howley turned 18 on May 17, so this year’s Triple Crown International Tournament was her final appearance with the Filipino national youth softball team. Earlier this year, she tried out to be part of the adult Filipino national team and will likely learn later this year whether or not she has been selected for the premier Filipino squad.


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