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Sluggers crush Fortissimo to enter finals

28 March 2016

By Vir B. Lumicao

Philippine Sluggers pulverized local team Fortissimo 18-1, on Feb 28 at Hin Keng Field in Tai Wai to top Group B in the semifinals of the Hong Kong Baseball Association women’s league and face the Group A winner for this season’s title.
The all-Filipina team entered the field confident of victory and did not take long to show the Hong Kong team they meant business when they rolled to an early lead with a 6-1 scrubbing of Fortissimo.
“We have played Fortissimo a number of times in the past but they never won against us,” said Sluggers president Cecil Calsas, who this season received coaching assistance for her players from David Wong and John Rostagno.
Playing as the home team, Sluggers allowed Fortissimo only one run in their first inning as the Filipinas tightened their defenses against their mostly young and fast rivals.Then the Filipinas surged ahead with Don Gaborno, Zhen Badajos, Cathy Bagaoisan, Juliet Polana, Josephine Vasol and Arimas scoring a run each in the first inning.Sluggers went on to torment their rivals with Gaborno, Badajos, Romela Osabel, Bagaoisan, and Vasol converting their hits to scores as they ran to the home base in succession in the second inning.Fortissimo looked well prepared when it was their turn to bat. But when Calas and coach Wong put Gaborno on the pitching plate in place of Osabel, the younger Hong Kong women got no mercy from the Filipinas.The local batters could hardly survive Gaborno’s accurate pitching, which caught a few of them standing, or get past the bases to produce a run. At the close of the second the women of Fortissimo were scoreless.In the third inning, Gaborno, batting first, slammed a low ball to the outfield but was put out on the first base.Badajos, Osabel and Bagaoisan scored a run each as the Filipinas overwhelmed Fortissimo’s defenses. Vasol slammed a homer to the center outfield to dash unchallenged all the way to home base. Then Duque, Arimas and Diane Erquiza followed suit with three runs to take Sluggeers’ scorecard to 18.When it was Fortissimo’s turn to bat, Gaborno took the first three batters out standing to end the match and seal the Filipinas’ date with destiny.
Sluggers will most likely fight for the championship against Philippine Buffaloes, another OFW team which Sluggers coach Wong expects will win their coming match against local squad Hare in Group A.
“Our fixture has been great, the fielding, there were no errors and everybody peaking in the battings, and in terms of defense they were good, too,” said Wong after the match.“That’s why we were able to keep them at bay, there was only one run.”
Australian coach Rostagno, who returned to the team this season after a four-year absence due to overseas assignments, acknowledged that Sluggers was a very good team, though he regretted that he was again leaving after this season for Dubai.
The coach figured in “a little bit of action” in the third inning when the Hong Kong umpire declared a Slugger out after touching third base because Rostagno moved back the plate into place seconds before the touchdown. “The umpire was watching and we got the base off. He wasn’t coming so I moved the base for her. She was out…he should have called (a time out)…but, a bit of sportsmanship, very bad sportsmanship,” he said.
The match timed out for a few minutes as Rostagno protested the umpire’s action. Tensions rose further when a foreign spectator joined the protest, shouting “you’re a piece of shit” at the umpire, who yelled back in Cantonese.
Wong said this was the first time he coached the team.  

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