Coming from a loss to the defending champions Adamson Lady Falcons, the UST Tiger Softbelles showed no signs of discouragement Wednesday morning.
The lady batters from Espana dominated a young Ateneo Lady Eagles squad in an 8-0 abbreviated sixth inning win to prepare for their showdown against the De La Salle University Softbelles on Saturday.
“We consider this game as practice for the Saturday game against La Salle kasi wala na kaming practice slot after today,” UST head coach Sandy Barredo said.
The Tigress defense headed by pitcher Mary Louise Garde only allowed a single hit, a Nicky Borromeo single in the first inning, for the entire game. Moreover, the farthest an Ateneo runner reached was only at the second base. This occurred twice in the game with Yla Trinidad during the first inning while Clarisse Dacanay reached the same spot during the top of the sixth inning. Both were left stranded though by the UST defense.
“At least hindi sila naka-score. Ang lakas ng NU pero ganun lang yung score nila 2-1. Maganda nilaro ng mga bata ngayon,” Barredo said about the team’s excellent defensive outing.
On the offensive end, the Tiger Softbelles were able to pick up a quick run during the bottom end of the first inning. With two outs, consecutive singles by Luisse Garde and Celestine Palma led to a run for the former to put UST on the scoreboard.
The floodgates opened in the second inning. Slugger CJ Roa took advantage by an error from Ateneo shortstop Aira Nevalga that gave her base. Consecutive singles by Jessie Belano and Lea Guevarra paved the way for a Roa run. Belano and, later on, Rachel Secor were able to pick up runs of their own to give UST a commanding 4-0 lead.
The Ateneo fielders never recovered from then on. Even with a pitching change that saw Ira Nevalga subbed out for Borromeo, the UST batters chipped in a run each in the third and fourth innings. Two costly Ateneo errors led to a run for Roa in the third and Secor run in the fourth.
“Nag-stastart na (yung offense). I hope magconnect sila kay (Jamica) Arribas on Saturday,” the UST mentor said about the team’s season high of eight runs. “It’s a different game kasi madami ang change-up niya. Although puwedeng abangan naman yun.”
In the sixth and final inning of the game, with rookie Jonah Hernandez and Shiela Penales gaining bases with no outs, an error with Lacupa at bat and a passed ball resulted to two more UST runs to mercifully end the game at 8-0.
Roa had an excellent outing for the UST offense in scoring two runs and popping a double in three at-bats. Belano and Guevarra contributed two singles that led to an RBI each.
The UST Softbelles (2-1) face the DLSU Lady Batters (0-2) on Saturday, February 6 in a pivotal match-up according to Barredo. “Kelangan manalo against La Salle this Saturday kasi dalawa lang lamang sa atin niyan sa overall (championship). Hindi tayo puwedeng magpatalo kasi bababa standing natin. Kelangan manalo tayo,” he emphasized.
On the other hand, the Ateneo Lady Eagles (0-3) face the Adamson Lady Falcons (2-0) later in the day.