Green Batters drop Finals opener to Ateneo

Published on March 6th, 2015 | by Deion Bandril

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The Green Batters ran out of gas against the Ateneo Blue Batters as dropped the opening game of the UAAP Season 77 Finals, 3-7, yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Going into this game, Ateneo had a 3-game losing streak with losses to UP, UST, and then DLSU to end their second round campaign. Even though the Green Batters had all the momentum going into this game, Ateneo had the last laugh.

In the first inning, Bernardo of the Katipunan-based squad made one run. On the DLSU side, there was this instance when all the bases were loaded. Dino Imperial looked to make the needed RBIs for the team but couldn’t finish.

Ateneo ended up completing a double-play to retire DLSU in that inning. This slightly affected the team, since Imperial was the most consistent hitter.

By the second inning, La Salle finally cracked Ateneo’s defense as they were able to make three runs. Runs were made by Joaquin Bilbao, Franco Hashimoto, and Paolo Salud with the help of Carlos Laurel’s RBI single. This sparked the offense for the Taft-based squad and was able to steal the lead. With the La Salle having 3-1 lead, the team looked fired up.

However, a sudden mishap and came to the Green Batters.

An unlikely call was made by an umpire on a hit by Pocholo Dominguez since an Ateneo outfielder was able to catch the fly ball of Dominguez, but he accidentally released the ball and couldn’t contain the ball in his glove. This may have looked like a catching error to all, but the umpire thought otherwise. This resulted to Dominguez being called back to the dugout and was ruled out by the officials.

On the 4th inning, starting pitcher of the Green Batters and prized rookie, Boo Barandiaran, was forced to be subbed from pitching as he accidentally hit three players with his pitches, thus resulted for him to be subbed from pitching to third base.

He exchanged positions with fellow rookie Kiko Gesmundo. This proved to be another unfortunate instance, since the next pitch from Kiko Gesmundo also hit another Ateneo player. This resulted to a three run rally for the Katipunan-based squad. Ateneo was able to regain the lead with the score 3-4.

If that wasn’t enough, another devastating event happened to senior Dino Imperial. Imperial was able to reach 1st base with a fielder’s choice. On his way to the base, he looked awkward with his legs. With a pick-off attempt coming from Andy Tan, Imperial went for the dive to 1st base. After the dive, Imperial couldn’t instantly get up. With the nasty fall, Imperial likely injured his arm, possibly his shoulder. This really diminished the morale of the Green Batters. Imperial is a vocal leader for the team throughout the season and was also the team’s heaviest hitter. With this injury, this would be a tough end for any UAAP player since Imperial is playing in his last year.

With the team’s morale taking a serious dip, the Green Batters fell awfully quiet through the next innings. Ateneo would score again in the sixth and eight innings by making 2 and 1 runs respectively.

The Green Batters couldn’t score anymore throughout the remaining innings. The game ended with the final score 3-7, with DLSU once again dropping their finals opener to rivals Ateneo.

Coach Joseph on the other hand acknowledged his team’s errors and Ateneo’s defensive plays. He believes that his team played good offense and defense, but Ateneo had a more defensive mindset going into the Finals. He commented, “Yung mga palo na hard to catch na-depensahan agad nila. Di ko naman sinasabi eh, pero may halong swerte na rin para sa kanila.” Coach Joseph liked Ateneo’s eagerness, but he knows his team can still pull out next game’s win. He just wants his team to bounce back and that this series is not yet over. He assures that his team will be more focused and ready for the do-or-die game next week.

The DLSU Green Batters will once again clash with the Ateneo Blue Batters for Game 2 of the Finals. This will be a do-or-die game for the Green Batters. They are looking to bring back the baseball crown to Taft after a 13 year championship drought. Last time DLSU had a taste of the baseball crown was back in 2002 when Joseph Orillana was the reigning MVP. The Blue and Green rivalry will continue March 12, at the same venue.

Deion Bandril

My momma always used to tell me: “If you can’t find something to live for, you best find something to die for.” – 2Pac

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