Photo by: Jennifer Serrano
The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Batters have always placed an emphasis on ‘redemption’ in their current run in the UAAP Season 81 Baseball Tournament. With memories of the shock loss in the Finals last season still vivid for most of them, the Green Batters entered this season hungry to redeem themselves and reclaim what should have been for them.
Around a year later, the Green Batters finish the elimination round with a string of six consecutive wins, including a clean slate in Round 2 and an average margin of 13 runs over their last three games. They return to the championship stage where they can show what being hungry for redemption looks like.
A lineup like no other
La Salle will be bannering strong lineup built around the core of last season’s silver medalists, including team captain Iggy Escaño, reigning UAAP MVP Kiko Gesmundo, and veterans Diego Lozano and Boo Barandiaran.
“We’ve shown this season that our offense can put up runs and string hits against any pitcher in the league,” the team captain confidently shared. He added that aside from their hitters, the Green Batters also boast of a deep pitching lineup. “We have a good number of guys that can come in to pitch at any given situation and help us get the outs we need.”
No less than head coach Joseph Orillana shared the same assessment of his team. “Strength nila ang pitching at hitting. Matibay ang pitchers ko. Matibay ang hitters ko.” He added, “Kalaban lang naman nila yung sarili nila. The rest nasa sa kanila na.”
Escaño admitted that what usually hurts them is “our own errors or lack of execution. It’s very important that we limit those and play our game.”
A lineup like no other can go down to drain if the Green Batters fail to execute. Wary of their weaknesses, Orillana first wants to see the Green Batters play on both ends without pressure.
Play simple Baseball
The Finals, the dream run of every team, means everything for those who reach this far. Athletes from both squads are expected to pour out and leave everything in this series. For Orillana, he reminds his wards to play as if it was just another stretch of regular games. “Wag isipin na championship ito. Kung paano sila lumaban nung eliminations, ganun lang din ang approach dito.”
Wary of their tendencies, the only other thing he asks of the Green Batters is to play simple Baseball. The former national team standout said, “Wala na dapat masyadong ingredients sa laro nila kasi malakas na sila. Simple Baseball, okay na yun.”
The long-time Green Batters’ tactician rued unnatural movements during their championship run last season. “Ang nangyayari kasi, hindi na nagiging natural dahil may TV na. Dinadagdagan nila ng arte. Wala na dapat extra movements na parang hindi nila ginagawa sa eliminations.”
The DLSU Green Batters look to draw first blood Game 1 of their Finals series against their archrivals Ateneo Blue Eagles tomorrow, March 29, 12 NN at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Escaño closed, “The mindset tomorrow is to come in with a winning mentality. We believe in our team. The hunger that this team has coupled with our belief in one another is what will bring that championship home this year. We’re focused on proving that to everyone this Finals.”