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First PONY Visayan baseball championships held in Sagay

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Participants of the 1st PONY (Protect Our Nation’s Youth) Visayan Championship (13-Under Baseball) held at Villa Salvacion Softball/Baseball Field, Barangay Poblacion, Sagay City*

The City of Sagay has recently making significant strides in paving the way for the revival of baseball as a re-emerging sport in the province of Negros Occidental, where, as part of its annual Sinagayan Festival, it hosted the 1st PONY (Protect Our Nation’s Youth) Visayan Championship (13-Under Baseball) on March 16-17, at the Villa Salvacion Softball/Baseball Field, Barangay Poblacion, in the city.

The inaugural 2-day tournament attracted the participation of different LGU teams, including San Carlos City, Hinigaran, Sagay City Wildcats, and the Sagay City DepEd team. It featured the 13-under category and the tournament was overseen by PONY Baseball and Softball International Technical Director and Philippine Wildcats Baseball Team coach Eric Gesmundo.

In his speech during the opening ceremony, Gesmundo expressed his hopes to finally see the Negros Occidental team representing the Philippines in the Asia Pacific and World Series tournaments, revealing that they were several potential players from the province who were selected to join various Manila teams in the leagues. 

The opening ceremony was also attended by Executive Assistant IV – Sports and Provincial Sports Coordinator, Anthony Carlo Agustin, who came representing Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose V. Lacson, along with the Provincial Sports Office Staff. In his short message, Agustin signified the support of the provincial government when it comes to the development and promotion of various sports in the province, through its Abanse Negrense Sports Programs. 

The baseball tournament was spearheaded by Sagay City Sports Coordinator and PONY International Visayas Baseball Commissioner Benson Fernandez, on behalf of Sagay City Mayor Narciso Javelosa Jr., Vice Mayor Leo Rafael Cueva, and its city and barangay officials. He was supported by DepEd Division of Sagay City SGOD Chief Ma. Theresa Bingcang, who came representing Sagay City Schools Division Superintendent Marsette Sabbaluca. DepEd Sagay City Supervisor Josette Balandra and Sagay City National High School Teacher III Lou Ed Lachica were also present.

Also in attendance were 2nd District Congressman Alfredo “Thirdy” Marañon III, former Provincial Sports Coordinator and PONY International Visayas Regional Director, Angel “Nonong” Verdeflor, PONY International Visayas Legal Consultant Atty. Sonya Verdeflor, and PONY International Visayas Softball Commissioner Reynaldo Fuentes.

Despite baseball’s dwindling popularity compared to other prevalent sports like basketball and volleyball, it remains a re-emerging sport and one of the main staple of events in multi-sport competitions such as the Palarong Pambansa and the UAAP. The competitiveness of Negrense athletes is proof that baseball is still a game our youth love to play.

The PONY Baseball and Softball International is a non-profit organization founded in 1951 in Washington, Pennsylvania. It organizes youth baseball and softball leagues and tournaments throughout the United States and over 40 countries worldwide. The upcoming PONY International Asia Pacific league will be hosted by the Philippines on June 5-7, 2024 at Carmona, Cavite.  

NEG OCC SOFTBELLES SWEEP TOURNEY

Negros Occidental Abanse Negrense Softball Team (Majors League) with Coach Lizvi Jalandoni.*

In other softball news, the Negros Occidental Abanse Negrense all-girls softball team was hailed the champion in the 12-under category of the 3rd SK Invitational Softball Tournament held at Tabugon Elementary School Field, Brgy. Tabugon, Kabalankalan City on March 15-16. The Negros Occidental softbelles competed against the teams from Magallon, Tabugon, Silay City, and Candoni.

The girls swept the single round robin competition with scores of 9-0, 7-2, 8-0, 8-0 against Tabugon, Candoni, Silay, and Magallon, respectively. The team received the champion trophy, while Tabugon was awarded the first runner-up, Magallon for the 2nd runner-up rank, and Silay City as the 3rd runner-up.

This invitational tournament victory came as the team prepares to represent the Province of Negros Occidental at the upcoming 2024 Little League Philippine Series National Finals on April 8-16, in Tanauan City, Batangas.*

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