|UST (6-6, PS: 2-1)||4||0||0||0||0||3||0||7||12||2|
|UP (7-5, PS: 1-1)||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||2||4||6|
“Kung sino maraming error, talo.” – UST Softbelle Head Coach Sandy Barredo
The University of Santo Tomas Softbelles force a do-or-die match on Sunday against the error-marred University of the Philippines Lady Maroons with a 7-2 win, Friday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Cochise Diolata and the UP defense struggled right at the top of the first inning. With one out, a catching error by UP second basewoman, Mary Joy Abanes, gave Kris Lacupa base. After a groundout of Charm Oria at second base that gave UP two outs, Celestine Palma was able to connect with a single that led to a Lacupa run. Cristy Joy Roa, then, connected with a single to give UST two bases. Luisse Garde connected with a single that paved the way for a Palma run. In addition to this was a fielding error by UP catcher, Marric Cabriana, which led to a Roa run. To cap the two-out rally, Shiela Perales popped a single to center field that gave Garde a run and an early 4-0 lead for the softbelles from España.
The UST Softbelles threatened to extend the lead in the second inning. With one out, Kris Lacupa slammed a triple to left field. The UP defense was able to recover after a groundout and a flyout of the next two batters stranding Lacupa at third base.
On the defensive end, Ann Antolihao and the UST defense shackled the UP Lady Batters in the first five innings of the game. In those innings, the Lady Maroons could only place 16 batters at bat. Moreover, they were only able to get on base twice in that time frame, an error that gave Gabin Paz second base at the third inning and a single by Angela Penales during the fourth inning.
More errors from the Lady Maroons helped the UST Softbelles extend their lead in the sixth inning. With one out, a throwing error by shortstop, Lily Gonzales, gave Jessie Belano first base. Senior, Jen Polinario, was subbed in to pinch run for Belano to second base. Another UP error, this time by pitcher, Cochise Diolata, gave UST prime real estate to score. A single to left field by Kris Lacupa gave Polinario a run to extend the UST lead to 5-0. After a flyout of the next batter for second out, Celestine Palma connected with her second hit of the day that gave Dela Torre a run. Finally, an RBI single by Luisse Garde gave UST an imposing 7-0 lead at the upper half of the sixth inning.
The Lady Maroons were finally able to put themselves in the scoreboard at the bottom end of the sixth inning. With one out, UP was able to connect with two consecutive singles courtesy of Lily Gonzales and DC Cruz. A sacrifice fly by Sella Mendoza batted in a run for Lily Gonzales. A fielder’s choice gave UST the last out, and stranded DC Cruz at second base.
After a great defensive inning by the UP Lady Maroons that stranded two UST batters on base, the Lady Maroons needed at least six runs to extend the game. A fielding error gave Dennise Cruz base, while the next batter Cochise Diolata grounded out to Antolihao. Gabin Paz was able to slam a double to left field that led to a Cruz run. However, two consecutive groundouts to shortstop Lyra Gustilo sealed the game for UST.
In preparation for this game, Coach Sandy Barredo told us that he did not do anything special in the recent practice of UST. “Wala, wala akong ginawa. Just lessen the error and focus on hitting. That’s it!” The UST Softbelles no longer have the pressure to win from the community, as they have already sealed the UAAP General Championship this season. “Ako masaya na ‘ko with third place, pero yung mga girls ayaw pa bumitaw,” the coach told us.
Finally, we asked the humble coach about the upcoming seventh game between UST and UP. The two squads faced each other twice in the intercollegiate league with UP winning both games, twice in the UAAP elimination round with UST winning, a placing game in which gave UP a twice-to-beat advantage, and this game to split the series. “Sunday will be the deciding match between me and [UP] Coach Kiko Diaz.”
The UST Softbelles and the UP Lady Maroons face-off in a do-or-die game on Sunday, March 22 for the right to challenge the Adamson Lady Falcons in the Finals. Game will be played at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.