Lady Batters return favor to UST with a sweep in battle for semis bonus

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Batters gave the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses a dose of their own medicine with a mercy rule defeat, 7-0, in their second round meeting in the UAAP Season 81 Softball Tournament yesterday, March 18 at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

It can be remembered that it was the Golden Tigresses who stained the Lady Batters’ erstwhile immaculate win-loss record of 3-0 via mercy rule, 7-0, back in the first round of the tournament.

Both squads entered the game with an identical 7-4 win-loss record. But with the last twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinals at stake, the Lady Batters showed the Golden Tigresses they were the hungrier team in the game.

Rookie pitcher Kiana Juan immediately struck out two offenders as UST had no chance to score. On the offensive end, the Lady Batters took every chance they got. Nica Velasco got a walk first. Later on, Mercy Arroyo followed triple with RBI, bringing the former home.

At the bottom of the third frame, Velasco reached the second base. Team captain Jamica Arribas then made sure that her team would secure their lead by making a home run, sending her and Velasco home. La Salle was ahead, 3-0, after the third inning.

Chinny Ejar started off the fourth period with a single followed by Miranda’s triple with RBI that brought Ejar home. Velasco then kept the streak going with a double and an RBI to add Miranda to the Lady Batters’ offensive party.

The España-based squad remained scoreless after five innings. On the other hand, the Taft-based squad have already put five markers on the board.

With the Tigresses still unable to put themselves up, a huge window opened for La Salle to prematurely end the match. And they did so as the Lady Batters finished it with a bang. Miranda’s single opened the bottom of the sixth. Afterwards, Velasco scored a double with RBI that delivered Miranda home. Badeth Benson also got a walk. Arribas finally capped it with a single and RBI for an easy jog all the way home for Velasco.

Head coach Jasper Cabrera ended the game with smiles as he witnessed her wards creating history for La Salle. “First time mag-Top Two in years. Palaging nagkaroon ng tie break sa Top Four pero natatalo,” the soft-spoken coach said.

Cabrera also praised her rookie pitcher. “Naimpress ako kay (Kiana) Juan. Sinasabi ko sa kanya, ‘limang taon ka dito sa La Salle, aalagaan ka dito. Mas mataas na ang level ninyo ngayon dahil maganda ang pinakita ninyo.'”

With the victory, they setup a semifinals series against the same opponent. But, they will hold an important twice-to-beat advantage over the third-placed UST.

“Pinaalala ko sa kanila na maglaro nang natural kagaya ngayon. Walang nerbyos para magawa ang lahat ng gusto,” the coach spoke briefly on how they are planning to head to the playoffs.

The DLSU Lady Batters (8-4) will face UST in the first game of the semifinals on Saturday, March 23, 11 AM at the same venue.