Photo by: Jempoy Pimentel
The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Batters avenged their first round loss against archrivals Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Batters following a 16-5 demolishing yesterday, March 17, at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Green Batters were in their usual deadly form from the get-go, immediately responding on defense as they failed to convert on offense. A fine catch by team captain Iggy Escaño followed by two immediate strikeouts by Luis Miñana closed the doors for Ateneo in the first inning.
After striking out Mark Evangelista, Ateneo’s pitcher put off a poor performance that gave walks to Tuwi Park and Anton Rosas. A catching error by the Blue Batters sent them to third and second bases, respectively. Not long after, another pitching error gave Angelo Tantuico a walk to load La Salle’s bases. One more walk for Paolo Salud gave a freebie and broke the deadlock as it sent Park home. With the bases still loaded, Boo Barandiaran’s zinger brought Rosas and Tantuico home for a 3-0 lead. Soon after, Escaño erupted with a homerun to push La Salle’s lead to 6-0. Ateneo tried to rally after La Salle’s six-point explosion with a homerun courtesy of their Tantuico. But, the Taft-based squad immediately shut the doors with easy catches on Altamonte and Eizmenda’s pop-flies. La Salle led Ateneo, 6-1, at the end of the
Contrary to their performance in the previous innings, it was a different La Salle squad in the third inning. Easy catches on Tantuico and Diego Lozano’s respective hits, and a strikeout on Salud prevented the Taft-based squad from extending their lead. On the other hand, a single by Macasaet was enough to bring Mallari home to put Ateneo on the scoreboard, 2-6.
The Green Batters rode on the same tempo in the next inning. Escaño and Gesmundo both failed to beat the throws, while Ateneo struck out Barandiaran. On the defensive end, a miscue by La Salle sent Tan to first base, to which the Katipunan-based squad took advantage. Altamonte’s boomer to the middle-left brought Tan home, inching their team closer, 3-6.
La Salle finally regained their momentum in the fifth canto. The Green Batters avoided a collapse starting from a Park roller good enough for a single. A bunt by Rosas moved him to first base, and Park barely beating the throw to second base. Salud’s zinger then brought him home. Not long after, Lozano’s boomer to far left sent Rosas home, before a similar hit by Barandiaran added two more runs for La Salle. The Blue Eagles then absorbed another Escaño hit that pushed their lead to eight, 11-3. The Blue and White capitalized on La Salle’s errors with a hit to the left that sent Mallari and a pinch hitter home. Nonetheless, they still trailed the Green and White after five innings, 5-11.
Following a scoreless sixth inning, Salud got things underway in the seventh inning with a triple. Lozano capped it off with a two-run homer. There was no looking back for La Salle as Gesmundo and Evangelista sent Barandiaran and Escaño, respectively. Another hit sent Gesmundo home to deal Ateneo an 11-run mountain to climb.
The Katipunan-based squad failed to score at the bottom of the seventh inning, giving the Taft-based squad back-to-back mercy rule victories with a final score of 16-5.
Head coach Joseph Orillana stated, “Proud na proud ako sa naging performance nila kasi sabi ko sa kanila na ibigay lang yung best nila.” He lauded his wards’ will to win and ultimately punch the ticket to the Finals. “Yung will nila, kung gaano nila gusto maglaro, makikita din dun. So proud talaga ako sa kanila.”
As the Green Batters wrap up the elimination round, Orillana added, “Magfocus kami at least kahit papaano hindi na masyado mabigat para sa amin. Magkaroon na rin ng playing time yung mga hindi nare-regular nine.”
With the win, the Green Batters stretched their streak to six, as they remained undefeated in the second round of elimination. They now hold the top of the standings with a 7-2 win-loss record.
The DLSU Green Batters will attempt to sweep the second round and finish the eliminations strong against UP on Wednesday, March 20, 10 AM at the same venue.