|ADMU (5-0), 1ST||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||2||4||10||2|
|DLSU (3-2), 2ND||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||4||4|
In a battle between two rookie pitchers- Ateneo’s Paulo Macasaet going against La Salle’s Francis Gesmundo- it was Macasaet who stood tall at the end in leading the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Batters in a 4-1 win over their rivals, the De La Salle Green Batters, last Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
In the first two innings of the game, Gesmundo, formerly from Marist School, gave up just a single hit and struck out two ADMU batters. The DLSU fielders also left one runner on base, Lorenzo Banzon at second base, during that span. Not to be outdone, Ateneo High School standout Paulo Macasaet struck out three DLSU batters in the first two innings of the game and gave up no hits. Three runners were left on base by the Ateneo fielding, two from the first inning with Carlos Laurel and Vicente Barandiaran left on the second and first bases respectively.
The Green Batters were the first team to put a run on the scoreboard at the bottom of the third inning. Francisco Hashimoto, after hitting a single to open the inning, scored a run coming from a Carlos Laurel RBI double.
Gesmundo during the next three innings gave up just one hit and struck out five batters. The DLSU defense, the pride of coach Joseph Orillana, did not allow any Ateneo runner to reach third base in the first five innings of the game. On the other end, after giving up a run in the third inning, the ADMU fielders made quick work of the DLSU batters in the fourth and fifth innings in putting out all six batters at bat, including two strikeouts by Macasaet.
At the top of the sixth inning and with two outs, the defending champions picked up a hit courtesy of a Carlos Remollo single. A fielding error by DLSU shortstop Hashimoto led to Ryon Tionloc gaining another base for the blue side. Third year ADMU batter Lorenzo Ramos then hit a single deep into left field that paved the way for a Remollo run and advanced Tionloc into scoring position. A costly catching error by DLSU catcher Paul Naguit led to a Tionloc run.
The DLSU Green Batters had a good opportunity to have a rally of their own at the bottom end of the sixth inning. With two outs, catching errors by ADMU 1st baseman Tionloc and 2nd baseman Conrado Banzon placed Gesmundo and Paolo Salud in prime scoring positions. Pinch hitter Martin Nolasco was called to hit for rookie Sigfrid Tan to try to at least score a run. Macasaet was able to strikeout Nolasco, leaving Gesmundo and Salud on base.
The Ateneo Blue Batters tried to extend the lead at the top of the 7th. With two outs, Adriane Bernardo hit a single while Banzon and Matt Laurel were walked due to balls to load up the bases. Gesmundo was able to strikeout Remollo thereafter that left all three runners on base.
Gesmundo and the DLSU fielders were again in the same position at the top of the 8th. With two outs, the Ateneo runners again loaded all the bases. Fortunately for the batters from Taft Avenue, a Bernardo fly was caught by Salud to end the inning.
With Gesmundo pitching eight straight innings and fatigue setting in as seen by the speed of Gesmundo’s pitches, the DLSU coaching staff relieved Gesmundo of pitching duties and replaced him with senior Carlos Muñoz while Andre Palacios replaced Muñoz to man the left field.
Banzon quickly hit a leadoff double over Muñoz to open the 9th inning. Matt Laurel then hit a deep game-breaking homerun that extended the Ateneo lead to three runs. The DLSU fielding was able to secure three outs after, including two strikeouts.
Macasaet and the Ateneo fielders ended the game by not giving up a single hit at the bottom of the last inning.
Head coach Randy Dizer told us postgame that the mindset of his prized rookie Macasaet was to close out the game. “I will try to finish this game,” was what Macasaet told his head coach before the 9th inning started.
“We were trying to count on his pitch count pero nung medyo delikado na, from the 6th inning onward, my three pitchers were warming up already but Paulo was able regain his form to close the game.”
Moreover, Coach Dizer was proud of his seniors. “Tulad nung sinabi ko sa inyo last time, my seniors proved to be the difference. Mas matanda sila and they don’t want to lose in their last year.”
Meanwhile, DLSU head coach Orillana was very proud of the performance of his squad. “We played a good game, they fought a good fight,” Coach Orillana told us after the game. “Nandun ang defense naming at nag-gain ng experience yung rookie namin (Gesmundo). Babawi tayo sa second round.”
Macasaet anchored the ADMU defense in giving up just one run, four hits, three BB’s and striking out 10 DLSU batters in the nine innings he pitched. Senior Matt Laurel led the offense with a run, two hits and two RBI’s including a 2-run HR.
The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Batters open the second round on Thursday, February 12 against the Adamson Soaring Falcons at 7am while the De La Salle University Green Batters face the National University Bulldogs in the second game of the day. Both games will still be played at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.