In a tight matchup which saw excellent fielding and pitching from both squads, it was a Cristy Joy Roa homerun at the top of the 7th inning that gave the University of Santo Tomas Softbelles their first win of the season over the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons last Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Right from the start, the first batter at-bat for the UST Softbelles Kristine Lacupa hit a triple from a pitch by UP star pitcher Cochise Diolata. A sacrifice fly to right field by senior Charmaine Oria led to a Lacupa run to put UST up 1-0. At the bottom of the opening inning, Danielle Cruz scored a run for the Lady Maroons to tie things up.
The next five innings saw excellent pitching and fielding from both teams.
For the UST Softbelles, sophomore May Ann Antolinao gave up only three hits, all singles, in that time frame. She also struck-out four UP batters as well.
Diolata, on the other hand, had her pitch hit only two times from the 2nd to the 6th inning. The ball movement on defense was crisp in those innings that only one UST batter, Mary Luisse Garde, was able to advance beyond 1st base.
The Lady Maroons almost had a chance to pick up a run in the 6th inning. With one player out, Diolata hit a single to center field. Chantal Bongat popped a fly but was caught by UST 3rd baseman Roa. An errant throw by shortstop Oria to 1st base loaded the 2nd and 3rd bases with Shiela Perales and Diolata respectively. However, a grounder by Seiko Hashimoto was caught by the 3rd base and passed to 1st base to secure the out.
Roa scored what would be the game-winning run at the top of the 7th. With UST up, the Lady Maroons needed to score a run to at least tie the game to go into extended innings. However, Lily Gonzales, Rose Alinsod, and Gabin Paz were all putout at 1st base consecutively to give UST their 1st win of the season.
UST pitcher Antolinao gave up only one run and just three hits for the entire game. She also struck-out four UP batters in the seven innings she pitched. Roa had a run, the game winning homerun for the game.
UST Softbelles head coach Sandy Barredo was relieved to finally get their first win of the season. “Nag click lahat. Maganda ang depensa namin buong laro at nabawasan din ang mga errors.”
When asked for a comment about the two games the Softbelles from España lost, Coach Barredo had this to say: “Maganda naman ang depensa namin nung mga unang laro namin, kaso wala lang palo.”
“Ang ganda ng laro ni (Cristy Joy) Roa. Pati ang pitching ni Antolinao. Sila ang nagpanalo sa amin,” concluded Coach Barredo.
The UST Softbelles will next play the ADMU Lady Batters on Saturday, February 7 while the UP Lady Maroons will get Saturday off and next face the ADMU Lady Batters on Wednesday, February 11. All games will still be played at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.