For the last eight years, the Adamson University Lady Falcons have never lost back-to-back games. Faced with a do-or-die situation for the first time, the defending, seven-time champions stepped up, blasting the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Softbelles in the sixth inning to take an 8-5 win, Friday morning at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
“Hindi talaga ako nakatulog kagabi, pinag-iisipan ko talaga yung batting order ko,” disclosed decorated Adamson head coach Ana Santiago as she made drastic changes to her order as the Lady Falcons only had five hits in Game One. “Lahat nagbago sa batting order ko, ni-reshuffle ko talaga. Even me na-surprise na ganito yung nangyari.”
With the game knotted at 3-all in the sixth inning and the Lady Falcons having two outs, the bottom of Adamson’s order dug deep and stepped up.
Krisha Cantor and skipper Riezel Calumbres connected with a single and a double respectively to gain scoring position. A fielding error by Princess Jumuad in the next play led to the go-ahead run. Then came a flurry by the Lady Falcons. Dely Covarrubias, who had never played the role of lead-off batter for the Lady Falcons in her five-year stay, connected on a single that drove in two runs. A strong single to center field by home run queen Jeanette Rusia paved the way for two more runs.
“Yun yung sinasabi ko sa kanila, ‘pag naka-score tayo sa six innings, panalo tayo. Naging inspiration nila yung sinabi ko. Si Rusia kanina, back-to-back strikeout. Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘kailan ka lalaban?’ Sinagot niya, ‘Ngayon na, coach’. Inasahan ko yun at nag-deliver siya,” Santiago pointed out.
The Tiger Softbelles tried a late-game hijack, as a two-out double to left field by Hannah dela Torre brought home two runners in the seventh inning. But Lyca Basa and the Adamson fielders were able to close out the game.
“Actually, shaky start kami. Nag-three run home run si [CJ] Roa. Isipin mo sa ganitong level ng play papaluan ka ng ganun tapos yung kalaban namin yung pitcher na hindi namin mapaluan,” shared Santiago as UST started off hot with an early 3-0 lead.
“Pero yung mga bata hindi pumayag na hindi kami lalaban. Gusto talaga nila na mag-square one kami. Nung naramdaman ko yun, kahit mag-score sila ng three runs, naniwala sila na kanila ito. Walang imposible, yun yung power of mind,” the proud Adamsonian added.
Basa surrendered just four hits in a no-relief outing. Antolihao, on the other hand, gave up a season-high 11 hits.
The winner-take-all affair will take place on Tuesday, March 20, at 9:00am.