Defending champion Adamson University and University of Santo Tomas, for the third straight time, will dispute the UAAP women’s softball championship.
This, after the Lady Falcons and the Growling Tigresses struggled past the National U Lady Bulldogs, 2-1, and the fighting University of the East Lad Warriors, 6-5, respectively, in a pair of semifinal encounters Thursday at the eight-decade old Rizal Memorial ground.
Both games were decided on errors with Adamson, which is aiming to extend its long, seven consecutive year reign to eight, ending seven-inning scoreless draught with a run in the seventh and final frame on a fielding error by NU’s shortstop Elsie dela Torre.
UST, which is aiming to succeed where it failed two years running, for its part, earned the second finals slot by coming from a 3-4 deficit with three-run spell in the last three frames, including one in the extension on a miscue that occurred in the busy corner.
Both Adamson and UST came into the game possessing twice-to-beat advantage on the strength of their top 1-2 finishes, respectively, in the two-round eliminations.
With one out, Adamson rightfielder Jenet Rusia started the ball rolling at the bottom of the seventh when she took first on base-on-balls, advanced to second on a sacrifice by first basegirl Flor Pabiania from where she dashed home on a hard shot by Krisha Cantor, the ball landing in the territory of Dela Torre, who dropped the leather as the Lady Falcons whooped it up in celebration of a hard-earned victory.
The Lady Bulldogs immediately jumped the gun on the opposition with a run right at the top of the first inning on a base-on-balls, a sacrifice and a double by third basegirl, Shine Nietes.
The Lady Falcons were not to be outdone though, equalizing at the lower half of the same period courtesy of second basegirl Reizel Columbres, who greeted losing pitcher Mia Macapagal with a lead off two-base-hit. She was sacrificed by leftfielder Lelie Binabjaye from were she crossed the plate on another double by catcher Dely Cobarrubias.
Six innings of fruitless, scoreless fames followed with the two teams, led by winning hurler Lyca Basa and her losing counterpart Macapagal exchanging no non-sense defense each.
The Lady Falcons, two of whom – Basa and Columbres — are members of the Philippine Blu Girls, proved more steady at bat though.
Basa and her teammates succeeded kin stranding 12 NU runners on bases with Macapagal leaving 10 of the Lady Falcons who were able to board, on the bags where they reached.
“As I expected, NU’s defense could have been our waterloo,” Adamson coach Ana Santiago exclaimed after her win. “Yun depensa talaga ng NU ang kinatatatakutan ko. It’s good we survived them again today.”
He Lady Falcons and the Tigresses battle anew for all the marbles in a best-of-three title series starting Tuesday with the girls of coach Santiago trying to reassert their supremacy over the ladies of mentor Sandy Barredo, whom they deprived a taste of the championship two seasons in-a-row.
Bafredo and his Tigresses, on the other hand, will attempt to end UST’s 18-year thirst for the title the Tigresses last held in 2000.
“Well, kami na naman uli. Sana naman suwertehin na kaming manalo ngayon,” Barrredo could only sigh in relief after disposing off the Lady Warriors.