“We are the last UST team standing.” – UST Coach Sandy Barredo
The last University of Santo Tomas team standing is peaking at the right time. The UST Softbelles, a team that started the second round at the lower echelon of the standings, has a three-game winning streak going into their final game of the season in defeating the DLSU Lady Batters 6-2 last Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Sophomore May Ann Antolihao started on the mound for the UST Softbelles in this pivotal matchup. Antolihao did not disappoint the Coach Barredo squad in keeping the DLSU Softbelles scoreless in the first three innings of the game. In those three innings, she struck out two batters. Moreover, the defense was on point in catching every fly ball that went there way and committed just a single error, a throwing error by third basewoman Luisse Garde in the third inning.
On the other end, Jamica Arribas started for the Lady Batters from Taft. During the past few games, the offense of the opposing teams are no longer surprised by the speed of Arribas’ pitches as clearly seen in the first inning of this game. A triple by leadoff batter Kristine Lacupa opened the game and a passed ball immediately gave UST a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Then with two outs, a fielding error gave Celestine Palma base and double by sophomore Cristy Roa gave UST its second run of the game.
After a 1-2-3 of the batters from UST by Jamica Arribas in the second inning, errors again plagued the Green and White squad in the third inning that led to Jonalie Almonia Jessie Belano to gain base. Roa popped a single into left field for her second RBI of the day that led to an Almonia run.
DLSU was able to get on the scoreboard at the top of the fourth inning. With two outs and two runners on base, Patricia Belarmino connected with a grounder for a 2 RBI double that gave Mary Joy Son and Jamica Arribas runs. However, the error plagued DLSU squad gave up three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Errors by DLSU first basewoman Vanessa Borbon and second basewoman Mary Joy Son led to runs by pinch runner Jessie Belano, Luisse Garde, and Charmaine Oria.
The UST defense locked down on the DLSU squad in the final regulation inning highlighted by a double play at the top seventh for two outs. An unassisted out of Bernadette Benson on first base sealed the game for the UST Softbelles.
After the game, Coach Sandy Barredo downplayed the win. “Finally, wala tayong errors,” Coach Sandy told us. After the loss to the Adamson Lady Falcons, the team had a six day break and have now stringed a three-game winning streak. “Nag practice kami ng maigi, buti na lang Ateneo ang susunod na game kaya naapply namin lahat. And nag carry over ang momentum against UP.”
When asked about the pressure of the UST community since this team is the only remaining UST squad in the close UAAP Overall Championship race Coach Sandy told us that there is a pressure from the community. “Mabuti na lang matibay ang loob ng mga bata.”
Cristy Joy Roa led the UST offense with two RBIs on two hits, a double and a single. May Ann Antolihao anchored the defense with seven strikeouts for the game.
The UST Softbelles play their final game of the elimination round on Wednesday, March 11 against the 4-7 UE Lady Warriors while the DLSU Lady Batters will go head to head against the UP Lady Maroons in the most crucial match up of the day. Both games will still be played at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.