Unfamiliar territory: Green Batters drop to third seed after suffering UST beatdown!
Published on March 1st, 2017 | by Karl Niccolo Dela Cruz
“Maniwala kayo sa sarili niyo na kapag tumayo kayo riyan, kaya niyo,” were the words expressed by Coach Joel Orillana at the huddle after the DLSU Green Batters lost their third match of the season at the hands of the UST Golden Sox, 6-11 in the UAAP 79 Baseball tournament, March 1 at the Rizal Memorial Diamond.
The Green Batters were shocked by an energetic UST Golden Sox at the top of the first inning with UST at bat giving UST an early three markers at the beginning of the match. The Taft-based squad was able to answer to UST’s number after Paulo Salud, Iggy Escaño and Kiko Gesmundo scored runs for the Green Batters, tying the match 3-all.
The next innings saw the Green Batters dumbfounded on defense as the España-based squad scored two runs at the top of the third inning via Kirk Peralta and Noriel Valencia. The previous sequence prompted Orillana and the rest of the coaching staff to field in an injured Les Cabiling at the pitch much to the dismay of the Green Batters with UST getting to score four more runs to widen the gap between the two teams, 3-10. Third stringer Vinny Herrera checked into the match to salvage the Green Batters on to the next inning.
A lethargic Green Batters and Golden Sox entered the diamond for the remaining innings. The Taft-based coaching staff even had to pull out their second and third stringers to put up with UST’s pesky offense.
It was until the fifth inning that the diamond held action. The Black and Gold team was able to score another run at the top of the inning allowing the Green Batters to get their game on at the bottom of the said inning. First at the bat was Franco Hashimoto who was able to get to the first base. Salud followed Hashimoto who got to the first base from a dive but the latter was too late to reach the second base. Up next was MVP Diego Lozano who frustrated the UST pitcher Ian Llave, letting Salud run to the second base and eventually firing up the Green Batters’ bench. After a Lozano walk to the first base, Escaño was able to continue the momentum batting in for all the bases to be filled. However, the momentum was cut short after Gesmundo and Tuwi Park were called out leaving La Salle still at three, entering the dying minutes of the match.
At the bottom of the seventh inning, the Green Batters looked to exact a come-from-behind win with Salud scoring a run batted in by a homerun from Escaño, 5-10. The Green Batters were cut short after the Golden Sox were able to put out three Green shirts to proceed to the next inning.
The eighth inning saw a spark of hope in the Green Batters. Joaquin Bilbao was able to walk to the first base to open the sequence. After Ryan Olmos and Lozano getting striked out, Herrera was able to get to the first base eventually moving Bilbao to second. An Escaño bat let Bilbao score a run giving La Salle another shot at gaining more momentum. Gesmundo batted next but committed a crucial error striking him out and giving La Salle only a point at the end of the eighth inning, 6-11.
The Green Batters were able to neutralize the Golden Sox at the top of the ninth inning but the España-based squad answered them back at the bottom of the inning to give La Salle their third loss in the tournament.
At the end of the match, OSD Director Nong Calanog urged the Green Batters to pick up their pace and get back to their winning form to ensure another finals appearance this season. “You have to find yourselves. Defending champions kayo, konting pride naman. Ang laki ng pinaghirapan niyo last season para lang ibigay yung game,” said Calanog. He also asked the boys not to give up even in the dying moments of the match. “Laban lang tayo. Wala naman tayong pwedeng gawin, kung hindi lumaban,” he added.
The Green Batters are now at risk of defending their crown after dropping third behind Ateneo and UST with a 3-3 win-loss card.
This was the wake up call for Coach Orillana. He pointed out how the simple errors in the match killed the momentum of the Green Batters. “Sana wag nating paabutin na sa huli tayo hahabol,” said Orillana. The coaching staff also noticed how the team lacked the killer instinct they showcased during the last season. “Nasaan na yung angas?” he asked the team. The loss frustrated Orillana and the rest of the coaches as they seemed to have misjudged the Golden Sox during the match. In the end, Orillana assured the team his trust and pushed for them to rise up in their last three games in the elimination round.
The Taft-based squad look to go back to their winning ways as they face the NU Bulldogs, Sunday morning, March 5 at the same venue.