AHS batters foil DLSZ's bid for UAAP 77 juniors baseball sweep

March 01, 2015
Norman Macasaet

In the UAAP Juniors Baseball division, a sweep of the double elimination round gives the top ranked team the championship. Having defeated the Ateneo Junior Blue Batters in the first round of UAAP 77, the DLSZ team was geared to repeat as champions but Ateneo team played without fear and emerged the victor for the day in the afternoon of February 28, 2015 at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.  
Led by its starting pitcher AJ Francisco, DLSZ held a slim 0-1 lead after five innings. Ateneo started with its ace pitcher, Marco Mallari, and held the DLSZ batters at bay, eventually pitching the whole game and striking out five batters along the way. On the top of the sixth inning, Ateneo's much feared offensive power capitalized on base on balls issued by DLSZ as well as errors and timely hits. Leading off the sixth inning, team captain Javi Macasaet took the walk and got on base; Rymer Tionloc reached base on a fielding error by DLSZ’s 2nd baseman; Paco Neri advanced Javi and Rymer but grounded out for the first out of the inning; then Kiko Andaya- who led the team in hits with three singles for the day- scored Javi for the tying run. Rymer and Kiko also scored on a throwing error by DLSZ’s catcher. Roque Banzon also got on base on another walk by DLSZ’s relief pitcher and eventually scored on a passed ball. The 6th inning ended with a score of 4-1 in favor of Ateneo. And there was no turning back as Ateneo shot down the DLSZ side at the bottom of the sixth inning highlighted with the 4th strikeout of Marco with DLSZ runners on second and third.

Ateneo continued to take advantage of successive errors and issued walks by DLSZ to reach base, eventually scoring another six runs in the seventh inning to virtually put the game away and schedule a winner-take-all championship game on March 12.

Here are a few photos highlighting the game's turning points: 

Marco Mallari's pitching was exceptional in the round two game against DLSZ.

Javi Macasaet started the scoring for Ateneo, tying the game on the top of the sixth inning and scoring another run on the seventh inning.

Paco Neri was solid on first base and also scored a run in the seventh inning.

Raf Roque, one of the youngest players in the team, showed maturity catching for Mallari the entire game and only allowed one passed ball the entire game. Raf also scored a run in the 7th inning.

Rymer Tionloc played the game of his young life with six putouts on right field including some very difficult running catches. He also scored two runs in the 6th and 7th innings.

The superb game management by Coach Randy Dizer (left) kept the hopes of Ateneo Juniors Baseball alive for another UAAP championship.