After finally breaking into the win column, the Ateneo Lady Eagles looked to build a two-game win streak against their rivals.
However, the De La Salle Lady Batters played at a furious pace on offense in connecting on 11 hits to send the Lady Eagles crashing back down in a 7-1 win to keep their Final Four hopes alive.
Sophomore Bernadette Benson started the game for the Lady Batters while usual start Jamica Arribas was moved to left field. “We used our second pitcher para yung ace pitcher namin mapahinga for the next three games,” La Salle head coach Alex Estipular said about the switch for this game.
The Lady Batters quickly blasted Ira Nevalga and the Ateneo defense to open the game. Lead off batter Mary Joy Son quickly connected with a double at first pitch while a sacrifice grounder by Judy Macatangay gave Son prime real estate to punch in a run. Jen Gomez hit a single to left field to bring home Son to put La Salle on the scoreboard. After Gomez stole second base while a wild pitch by Nevalga gave her third, Jamica Arribas brought home Gomez for a 2-0 lead.
Errors plagued the Lady Eagles to start the second inning. A catching error by Ateneo’s first basewoman Nicki Borromeo and a fielding error by third basewoman Yla Trinidad gave rookies Arisa Miranda and Veronica Velasco base. A flyout of Son gave Ateneo an out but Macatangay answered right back with a thunderous triple to center right field to bring home the two runners. Gomez then brought home her fellow senior to give La Salle a 3-0 lead.
“Kelangan namin magclick talaga sa offense. May depensa naman tong mga to,” Estipular shared about his emphasis on offense for the final stretch of the Lady Batters.
After Vanessa Borbon was able to punch one more run in the third inning, the Lady Eagles were able to get the run back at the bottom end of the inning for their only run in the game. First batter Gabby Macatulad connected with Ateneo’s first hit of the game, a double. A passed ball n the next play gave Macatulad home to punch in the Lady Eagles’ only run of the game.
Alex Estipular and the La Salle coaching staff gave exposure to their reserves in the middle innings of the game. Designated player and rookie Sachiel Amores made the most of her playing time at bat. The rookie from De La Salle-Zobel popped a double to start the fifth inning. A throwing error by center fielder Angela Natividad gave Amores the chance to gain home base that gave La Salle a 7-1 lead.
The Lady Eagles failed to register a run and connected on just one hit, a Kaira Ventosa pop-up fly in the seventh inning, in the final two innings as the Lady Batters swept their season series with Ateneo.
“At least nakabawi ngayon. Yung mga remaining games namin kelangan namin bawiin para makapasok. At least may posted three home runs na kami,” Estipular said about the slim chance the team has of getting into the final four.
“Ang hinihingi ko talaga sa kanila is suporta sa batting. Suportahan nila si Arribas.”
Gomez played excellent in the game in going 3 of 4 at bat. She had three singles leading to two RBIs and a run. Judy Macatangay went 1 of 3, a triple that brought in two runners. She also punched in a run as well.
Winning pitcher Benson gave up just two hits, both singles, and was able to strikeout two batters.
The DLSU Lady Batters next face the UP Lady Maroons on Saturday, February 27 at 9am. On the other hand, the Ateneo Lady Eagles, who are officially eliminated from Final Four contention, play their penultimate game later in the day against UST Tiger Softbelles.
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