The De La Salle University Lady Softbelles opened the team’s campaign in the 75th season of the UAAP with two surprising wins in four games. The team is out to avenge last year’s disappointing campaign, which saw the team fail to record a single victory. The team’s current record has already surpassed the Softbelles’ win total of the past two seasons combined.
After picking up a win last December 8 against Ateneo, the Lady Softbelles showed that the victory was no fluke as the ladies followed up with a win against the University of the East on December 12. La Salle showed heart and mental toughness—two characteristics the previous team lacked last year.
A test of resilience
In the opening game, La Salle was left in shambles after receiving a 15-0 beating against an Adamson squad that has not lost in the UAAP since 2010. The game was called off via the mercy rule after the Lady Softbelles gave up 12 runs in the third inning.
There were several failed catches and miscommunications while fielding on the part of the Green-and-White squad made many defensive lapses.
A week later, the ladies from Taft once again found themselves trailing early on against another blue and white squad, Ateneo. The Lady Batters from Katipunan won two games last season, both at the expense of La Salle.
Down, 2-0, in the beginning of the fifth inning, La Salle rattled two straight runs to end the canto and vault DLSU back in the game.
With the past loss to Adamson still fresh in the team’s consciousness, the Lady Softbelles stepped up offensively and defensively to close out the game against Ateneo. The Taft-based squad sealed a win with another run in the seventh inning, winning for the first time in two years in dramatic fashion. Curiously, the last win of the Lady Softbelles, which came in the first round of Season 73 of the UAAP, was also against the team’s Atenean counterpart.
Up next for the Lady Softbelles was UE, the third placers last season and a much tougher test than Ateneo. In the first three innings, both teams failed to score; La Salle’s defense was extremely efficient in limiting the Lady Warriors.
In the next inning, the Lady Softbelles caught fire and scored four straight runs to take a, 4-0, lead. Both teams remained scoreless for the rest of the match as La Salle shocked the league when the team took its second victory of the season against a consistent UE squad.
The winning streak came to an end at two in the hands of UP. Both teams were tied after the first inning, scoring one run apiece, but the Lady Maroons took the lead in the next inning by a point.
La Salle took the lead after scoring one run each in the fourth and fifth innings as the team looked to be well on the way to a third straight win; UP forced an extra inning though, knotting up the score at three.
The first two extra innings were just as close with both teams scoring a single run going into the penultimate round. UP eventually shut down La Salle and scored one run, picking up the 6-5 win in dramatic fashion.
With the victories, the ladies from Taft have already surpassed last season’s win total, but the squad is going after bigger goals. Surprising the entire UAAP with their quick start, the ladies have slowly begun to shed the pushover tag to gain respect on the pitch.
With six matches left in the UAAP season, the team hopes to tally more victories to redeem the team’s past performance and to eventually win an elusive championship in the long run, if not this season.