Mia Macapagal has been spectacular in the two games she has pitched for the National University Bulldogs.
Having given up just six singles in their opening day game against the La Salle Lady Batters, Macapagal and the National University defense only gave up three singles in a 6-0 shutout of the University of the East Lady Warriors in the Wednesday morning at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Lady Bulldog batting that went missing during their game against the Ateneo Lady Eagles last Monday resurfaced at the bottom of the second inning. Clean-up hitter Mia Macapagal and Shaira Damising were able to pop singles to get a feel of Lady Warriors pitcher Elvie Senangote’s throws. It was the warm-up needed by the Lady Bulldogs.
Knowing the tendencies of Senangote, Macapagal again popped a single against the UE pitcher at the top of the fourth inning. She was then replaced by Mary Grace Blanco. Rookie Aimee Watson then knocked off a huge triple that placed the lady batters from Jhocson Street on the scoreboard. A sacrifice fly to center field by Charles Tulalian then paved the way for a Watson run to put the Lady Bulldogs up 2-0 entering the fifth inning.
UE tried to stop the bleeding prior to the fifth inning when they replaced Senangote for Lovely Redaja on the mound. However, the momentum gained by the Lady Bulldogs was just too much. Lead-off batter Dyan Arago immediately connected with a single to open the inning. An error at first base gave Kristine Acuna base as well. A single by Colleen Alilin led to NU’s third run for the game. After a flyout of Macapagal, Watson converted on her second hit of the day, a double, that led to two more runs. Tulalian then knocked a long single to bring Watson home and give NU a commanding 6-0 lead.
“Nagstart kami ng training namin last April pa. Buti naman nagbubunga this early yung training ng pitchers namin especially si Mia,” former head coach and current NU pitching coach Hernando Posadas said about the team’s improvements on both ends this season.
On the other end, Macapagal led the NU defense, pitching all seven innings. Macapagal only allowed three hits in the game and struck out six batters. The defense was spectacular, having allowed only five runners to reach base. In addition, during the fifth inning, the defense left Malou Blanco on third base that helped secure the shutout.
“Parang nagtiwala lang ako sa sarili ko. Bilang isa sa mga seniors, iniisip ko walang hindi ko kaya para sa team,” senior and ace pitcher Mia Macapagal said about her improvements this season. “Kelangan ko kasi masuklian yung binibigay nila sa akin.”
Moreover, Macacpagal and the team’s seniors took it upon themselves to help integrate the team’s rookies. “Para sa akin, kelangan ko pangunahan sila. Kelangan ko ipakita, bilang isa sa mga seniors, na hindi kami sumusuko,” she added. “Yung mga bago naming pitchers, kelagan talaga namin suportahan at lakasan yung loob nila.”
With a 3-0 start, Posadas admitted that they too are surprised with the team’s hot start. “Nagulat talaga lahat pati team manager namin sa inimprove ni Mia. Last year, nung head coach ako medyo nahirapan kami,” he shared. “Kaya ngayon, finocus na nila ako sa pitching. So, okay at natutukan ko yung mga pitchers.”
The National University Lady Bulldogs (3-0) will next face the UP Lady Maroons on Monday, February 8 while the UE Lady Warriors (1-2) face the UP Lady Maroons on Saturday, February 6.