Coming off a championship, some teams are known to lose concentration or take their foot of the gas pedal for even a day. Today, however, was not that day for the DLSU Green Batters, as the defending champions dominated the UP Fighting Maroons, 19-1, in their mercy rule win yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Field.
Tuwi Park and Kiko Gesmundo each hit a home run in a game dominated by La Salle from the get-go. Each individual played a part in the win, with starting pitcher Boo Barandiaran holding the opponent to zero runs in his six innings of work.
UP, on the other hand, just seemed completely overmatched, as it just couldn’t find a pitcher reliable enough in this game. Even with a last gasp RBI double in the game’s last inning, there just wasn’t much for the Maroons to cheer about.
“I think what made it look so easy was first, Boo’s [Barandiaran] pitching and the defense which clicked from the very start of the game,” said Ignacio Escano, who went four for five, with two doubles, in the game. Continuing, he said, “Then second, our offense, though it only picked up in the third inning, it really got hot and stayed hot throughout the game.”
Quiet early on
While the final score would not indicate it, the team from team from Katipunan did keep things close in the game’s early innings. At the top of the third inning, with the game tied, UP was gifted a golden opportunity after a La Salle error gave the Fighting Maroons men on second and third base, with captain SJ San Juan, at the plate. He, however, would ground it to second base, and thus began the DLSU onslaught.
At the very next half inning, with Franco Hashimoto and Diego Lozano on base, Les Cabiling would hit an RBI single to plate the game’s first two runs. Escano would subsequently hit a double to set-up Park to do his work. Park would respond by smashing the pitch from Gab Rodriguez over the right field wall to extend the Green Batter lead to 5-0.
DLSU would then add two more runs in the fourth inning to further the lead, 7-0.
Even with a big lead, the team from Taft squad would not let up as they continued to hit everything UP would throw at them. At the bottom of the fourth inning, with three runs in, third baseman Gesmundo would line a pitch straight over the left field wall for DLSU’s second home run. At this point, with the score at 12-0, the result of the game seemed all but finished.
Even with the threat of the mercy rule looming, unfortunately for the Maroons, they just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive side. To go with this, La Salle continued to pour in five more runs in the sixth inning, with many of their starters having already been subbed out of the game. Entering the seventh inning facing a 19 run deficit, the Fighting Maroons knew it just wasn’t their day.
While he did not strike out many batters, Barandiaran’s efficient dominance from the mound was what set the tone for the team. UP just could not get in a rhythm with the La Salle pitcher’s variance of pitches keeping them off balance throughout the game.
As for the offense of the Lasallians, it was their heart that carried the load. Combining for nine hits, four walks, and nine runs batted in, the trio of Cabiling, Escano, and Park were just tremendous in the middle of the line-up. Add in a run-saving catch by Pao Salud in the fifth inning, and this was a great all-around performance by the team in white.
Escano, the designated hitter, knows however that this is just all a product of hard work and that they will need to sustain it to continue their early success. “I think to sustain it, we just need to remain confident and keep working hard in practice because this is what we practice for, to play at this high of a level.”
La Salle will resume action on Wednesday, February 8, at 7 am in the same venue as they face the UST Growling Tigers.