|UP (7-5, PS: 2-2)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||3|
|AdU (12-0, PS: 1-0)||0||0||2||2||2||0||–||6||9||1|
“Magaling naman silang lahat, lahat ng kakampi ko. Tulong-tulong dapat kasi team effort ang kailangan namin para manalo.” – Reigning Most Valuable Player Annalie Benjamen on Krisna Paguican’s performance
Adamson senior Krisna Paguican made up for a slow start from their sluggers in leading the defending champions, and take Game 1 of the UAAP Season 77 Softball Finals, 6-0, over the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Lady Maroons were without, fourth year center fielder, Sella Mendoza for the game as she was attending to her thesis. Gelai Penales moved to Sella’s position, while Chantal Bongat moved to left field for the UP defense.
The Lady Falcon defense opened the game with usual suspect, Annalie Benjamen, on the mound. Benjamen and the Adamson defense opened the top half of the initial inning with a 1-2-3 of the UP batters including two strikeouts. At the bottom end of the initial inning, the UP defense also held the Adamson Lady Falcon offense scoreless with putouts of Queeny Sabobo and Lorna Adorable, and a flyout of Flor Adorable.
In the next inning, the Lady Maroons had prime scoring position with two outs and Seiko Hashimoto at third base. Benjamen was able to strikeout Lily Gonzales, her fourth strikeout in two innings, to strand Hashimoto at third base.The lady batters from San Marcelino threatened to score at the bottom end of the second inning. With two outs, Gelyn Lamata connected with a single to give Adamson their first hit of the day. An error by, second basewoman, Seiko Hashimoto with Clariz Palma at bat gave Adamson the corners. The Lady Maroons were able to putout Riflayca Basa for third out to leave both runners stranded.
Scoring opened at the bottom end of the third inning, Krisna Paguican managed to reach base due to a wild throw by Dennise Cruz to Hashimoto. An RBI double by Queeny Sabobo to right center gave Adamson a run. With one out, Sabobo picked up a run of her, own due to a fielder’s choice that resulted to an out of Pabiana. The inning ended with Adamson up 2-0.
The Adamson Lady Falcons doubled their lead in the fourth inning. After two consecutive singles by Gelyn Lamata and Clariz Palma, and a groundout of Riflayca Basa, Krisna Paguican connected with a long grounder for a 2 RBI triple. Paguican was left stranded at third to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth inning and with one out, Benjamen was able to connect with a double and was replaced by pinch runner Reizel Calumbres. Furthermore, Calumbres was able to steal third base off a wild pitch. Angelie Ursabia was, then, able to pop a fly to left field to score Calumbres. In addition, another wild pitch by Cochise Diolata with two outs gave Ursabia a run of her own. UP Head Coach, Kiko Diaz then retired Diolata from the mound and replaced her with rookie Mary Bernabe to close the game.
After a scoreless sixth inning at both ends, the Lady Maroons needed at least six runs to extend the game. The Adamson Lady Falcons were able to putout lead-off batter Gelai Penales, while Benjamen struck out DC Cruz for second out. An error by, Adamson third basewoman, Angelie Ursabia gave Dennise Cruz third base. Then, Chantal Bongat connected with a single by Bongat to give UP the corners. However, it was not meant to be, as reigning best pitcher, Annalie Benjamen, struck out Seiko Hashimoto to seal the game for the Lady Falcons.
The Lady Falcons had an excellent defensive outing for this game. Annalie Benjamen was again the stronghold for the team in giving up just two hits for the entire game. Moreover, Benjamen and the Adamson defense only allowed 24 Iskas to bat, while Benjamen struckout 12 of them. On offense, Krisna Paguican had her best game of the season with one run, a double and two RBIs.
We had a chance to talk to Paguican after the game to talk about her performance. “Sa akin lang po kelangan magfocus sa game. Kasi pag ako naglalaro, sa sobrang focus ko pati ang crowd ‘di ko na napapansin,” the senior told us.
“Pinaghandaan kasi namin yung pitch ni Diolata, nagpahinga kami ng two weeks pero sa two weeks na yun nag tune-up games kami.” “Di sumagi sa isip namin na nakakapagod kasi hard pa rin kami ng hard sa training kahit finals din namin sa school,” Paguican concluded.
On the other hand, UP Head Coach Kiko Diaz told us that the hole Sella left was not an excuse to lose the game. “Yes it was a loss and we had to adjust out batting order and fielding line-up, but I know we can still win with this line-up.” Moreover, there is no such thing as a consolation prize in not losing via mercy rule since the UP Lady Maroons were able to snap the 12 game mercy rule streak of the Lady Falcons. “A loss is still a loss.”
Finally, we asked the UP coach about whether Diolata was already fatigued with the long grind of the season. “Baka nga, pero we were not able to take advantage of perfect pitch counts [two strikes with no or one ball]. Pero the heart of Diolata, kahit bata pa siya, is truly palaban.”
Game 2 of the finals will be on Thursday, March 26 at 9am. The game will still be played at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.