Adamson University moved one win away from its 10th straight championship after pinch-hitter Mae Langga’s seventh-inning walk off to frustrate University of the Philippines, 2-1, in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 85 softball finals at the UP Diliman Baseball Field on Tuesday, Mar. 14.
With one out already, Alaiza Talisik reached first base at the bottom of the seventh after being hit by a pitch on her leg before Lady Falcons head coach Ana Santiago put in Madelene Domaug as the pinch runner.
On the next at-bat came Langga, a 21-year-old rookie out of Iloilo.
During the third pitch, Domaug went to steal the second base, prompting UP catcher Revel Caoagdan to throw to second but it was too high resulting in an error that allowed the runner to advance to third base.
Then Langga drilled a line drive single to shallow center field for the walk-off.
“Instinct ko lang. Kasi before pumasok si Talisik, sabi ko once na matungtong ito mag pinch runner ako then mag pinch hitter ako. Luckily talaga, swerte talaga at nagclick!” said a delighted Santiago.
Adamson’s first run was in the third inning when Neomay Mahinay’s grounder zoomed past UP shortstop Aila Subaldo that scored MJ Maguad.
But the Fighting Maroons answered at the top of the fifth when Subaldo’s ground ball straight to Lady Falcons pitcher Glory Alonzo got past her to bring Martine Francisco to home plate for the tie, 1-1.
UP was also one woman less as centerfielder Nickole Dela Cruz was stretchered out of the field at the bottom of the fourth inning after a collision with right-fielder Leica Atlas while both were going for a flyball at right-center field.
In a pitcher’s classic duel, Alonzo and Kacelyn Valino both played no relief for their respective squads.
Alonzo threw 86 pitches and fanned two Fighting Maroons while giving up five hits but left four stranded on base.
Valino, on the other hand, only allowed three hits on 79 pitches while also striking out two Adamson sluggers.
The Lady Falcons will look to close it out on Saturday, 2:30 p.m., at the same venue, while UP aims to force a rubber match next Tuesday.
“Pagtatrabahuhan pa rin namin. We will improve on our mistakes today para mai-adapt namin sa Game 2,” said Santiago on going for the jugular.
Game on Saturday, Mar. 18
(UP Diliman Baseball Field)
2:30 p.m. – UP vs ADU