Ateneo Eaglets upset DLSZ's baseball championship bid & take UBL crown!
The Ateneo de Manila High School baseball team- which consists of players from the junior high school and senior high school- won the United Baseball League (UBL) title after winning against undefeated De La Salle Zobel (DLSZ) in a nail-biting championship game played on Sunday, October 9, 2016. The final score was Ateneo-4, DLSZ-3 in the 7-inning game that was fought from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm at Brent International School in Mamplasan, Laguna. Since the UBL's creation in 2007 as the combined baseball tournaments of PRADA and PAYA, Ateneo has won the crown twice, in 2007 and 2014.
The members of Team Ateneo are Tim Albert (12-Andlauer), Migs Alvaro (11-Berchmans), Gabby Angeles (11-Borgia), Nate Carpio (11-Pignatelli), Joaquin Carsi Cruz (12-Bobola), Jonel Chanyungco (12-Bobola), Jiggy Cuenco (12-Bobola), Yuan De la Rosa (9-Lewis), Paolo Dumlao (12-Geronimo), Luis Estacio (12-Briant), Andre Guinto (12-Ogilvie), Marcy Guzman (9-Grodziecki), Manu Guzman (11-Pongracz), Zeke Laygo (9-Grodziecki), Juancho Mendoza (11-Chabanel), Ethan Mitschiener (9-Maunoir), Raffa Roque (12-Anchieta), Mark Sacramed (12-Arrowsmith), Matti Salazar (11-Hurtado), and Aloi Tuprio (10-Morse). They were coached by Randy Dizer, Pepe Jose and Adrianne Bernardo.
Playing on top of this page are video highlights from the game.
Below is a more detailed account of what happened, as written by Ateneo Baseball Team Manager Dutch Albert:
Fresh off their UBL semi-final victory the previous week over 2nd-seeded UST, our boys faced the formidable, and undefeated De La Salle Zobel (DLSZ) team, with DLSZ having the home field advantage.
The first two innings of the championship game saw both teams playing good defense. DLSZ denied Ateneo any runs despite hits from Gabby Angeles and Ethan Mitschiener in the 1st inning, coupled with an error-inducing hit from Paolo Dumlao that was followed by a textbook sacrifice bunt by Timmy Albert in the 2nd inning. Ateneo played it strong, bringing six outs, keeping the DLSZ bats unusually silent through great pitching from Ethan Mitschiener, coupled with solid hit-denying plays from Luis Estacio, Timmy Albert, and Paolo Dumlao.
The top of the 3rd inning saw Manu Guzman get a base hit, and despite several pick-off attempts by DLSZ, our resident speedster managed to get to 3rd and eventually score a run from aggressive base running. His distractions got Ethan walked, and Rapha Roque’s line drive single brought even more tension to the DLSZ team, but ultimately did not materialize into another run.
A single hit from DLSZ in the bottom of the 3rd was not enough as the outs came from Jiggy in the outfield and solid infield plays.
Defense in the 4th inning saw both teams once again denied of any runs.
With one out at the top of the 5th, DLSZ made a costly mistake of walking Manu Guzman. Once again, Manu managed to steal his way to second and then to 3rd. Gabby executed a perfect bunt. Manu managed to sprint his way home out of an attempted rundown and Gabby made it to 2nd during DLSZ’s attempts to tag Manu out. With the score at 2-0, Gabby then got to 3rd as Zobel’s catcher missed the ball on a strong pitch. With two strikes, Ethan hit a short grounder. He was out at first, but that hit allowed Gabby to make it home and score, 3-0. Rapha Roque hit a powerful double to once again have a boy in blue in scoring position. Raph got to 3rd with a rattled Zobel team. Marcy Guzman was then walked. With runners on 1st and 3rd and Paolo at bat, Marcy stole 2nd on the pitch. Zobel tried to tag him out at 2nd but Marcy made it. Raph then stole home on their throw, bringing the score to 4-0. Zobel managed to get the 3rd out before more damage was done.
With one out at the bottom of the 5th, Zobel’s Minana hit a hard grounder to third, forcing Timmy to fumble, resulting in a late and off-line throw to first. Nate Carpio recovered and held the runner. Zobel cheered hard as they smelled an opportunity. But our boys keep their composure and Luis Estacio handled the next two outs.
The 6th inning started with Andre Guinto bringing in a quick single, but Ateneo’s offensive attempt fizzled out with three quick outs that followed. At the bottom of the penultimate 6th inning, Zobel’s batters seemed to have gotten more of a bead on Ethan’s pitches. Their lead-off batter hit one hard to center field, but Manu caught that long flying ball. The second batter made contact and fouled some balls before getting struck out. DLSZ had two men out at this point. Zobel’s Tantuico then hit a hard grounder to get on first. Ethan started to show some fatigue in his pitching arm as he threw one in the dirt, allowing Tantuico to advance to second while Rapha went for the recovery. Zobel’s next batter was hit by a pitch bringing two of its runners on base. After two balls, Zobel’s Rosas hit a line drive double toward left field. Their two runners scored, bringing the score to Ateneo-4, DLSZ-2 with two outs in the bottom of the 6th. After a ball throw, Ethan dug deep and threw two strikes, showing his arm was still there. The batter made contact on the next pitch, but it was declared a foul. Ethan then pitched a ball and Rapha quickly threw it to Andre, catching Rosas attempting to steal third. DLSZ’s 3rd man was out.
Ateneo led 4-2 at the top of the 7th and final inning, but Zobel’s Minana got the better of Ateneo’s batters, striking two of them out and following these with a quick ground out.
Zobel was now at bat, with a chance to win the title with three runs or force an extension with two.. Ateneo needed to play flawless defense… or else. Zobel was in the middle of its batting order, with players with a history of bringing in big hits. Their first batter was Ueda. Ethan threw two great strikes, followed by a fouled ball. Ateneo saw that the fatigue from the 89 pitches Ethan threw up to this point was starting to show. His next pitch turned into a line drive to left field and Ueda got on first. Zobel cheered hard, and Ethan was spent. Ateneo’s coaches called on Luis Estacio to finish the game. Ethan steped off the mound and was met with applause before he switched places with Luis as shortstop.
DLSZ’s next batter was Ofilada. Luis threw a strike and Ateneo tried to catch the runner stealing but an error allowed Ueda to advance to third. Luis pitched well but couldn’t find the inner edge of the umpire’s strike zone. Pressure mounted on the blue and white after Luis threw three balls. His next pitch is hit deep, deep into left field. Ueda scored, but our fielders were able to keep Ofilada on second. Zobel puts in Amado, a lighter, faster runner. Ateneo’s coaches put all our starting infielders back into play. The veterans, led by Rapha and Timmy call the infield around Luis for a huddle.
DLSZ’s Arrastia bats with a runner on second. The first pitch is a ball, the next one a foul tip. The third pitch makes contact, a flyball toward center field. Manu Guzman ran and made the play!
At the bottom of the 7th, the score is 4-3, with two men out for Zobel. But they have a man on second who can score a tying run.
Zobel’s batter takes the box. One can only imagine the tension weighing on the shoulders of Ateneo pitcher Luis Estacio. His next pitches will either save the day, or crush Ateneo’s championship dream.
Luis’ first pitch is a moving fastball- strike!
The batter swings to meet Luis’ second pitch- strike 2.
Luis’ 3rd pitch…is a strike, and Ateneo wins the UBL championship for the third time in nine years!