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Blue Eagles win HK baseball Open

12 January 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao

Ateneo Blue Eagles came from behind to beat Sydney University Baseball Club of Australia, 10-4, on Dec 17, and finish as champions in the Club Pool of the restructured Hong Kong International Baseball Open 2017.

The defending champions, however, saw their dominance of the annual tournament limited as host Hong Kong Baseball Association divided the event into National Team and Club Pool competition, thus confining the Filipinos in the latter division.
Blue Eagles batter Javi Macasaet (7) prepares to blast a Sydney University fast ball in the fourth inning.

“We’d been the champions twice here, and Hong Kong Red took the trophy only when we did not take part the other year. In the last championship, we beat them again,” coach Bocc Bernardo told The SUN.

He expressed regret that this year the National Team division was added and the Philippines was unrepresented.

The Blue Eagles, defending champions of the tournament, waylaid all their opponents in the four-day event at the Sai Tso Wan Baseball Field in Lam Tin, Kowloon starting with a 12-7 drubbing of newcomers Sydney University on Dec 14.

The Filipino sluggers went on with their juggernaut, trouncing Hong Kong Blue, 9-6, on Dec 15 and mauling Lanzhou New Way of China, 12-3, on Dec 16.

Sydney University set itself up for a revenge game against Blue Eagles by outclassing Lanzhou New Way, 6-4, on Day Two and hammering Hong Kong Blue, 11-7, the next day. But the Australians settled for first runner-up after bowing to the Filipinos.

Lanzhou New Way beat Hong Kong Blue 4-3 in the duel for second runner-up. It was sweet revenge for the mainland team, which the local boys walloped 17-2 on opening day.

The Australians began strongly in the final match, holding the home-team Filipinos at bay, 1-0, until late in the fourth innings. But Gio Salvatierra slammed a fast ball to centerfield that sent Enzo Orbeta and Dan Laurel running to home base in succession.

Then Marquis Alindogan blasted another ball to the centerfield, and Salvatierra raced to home base. Alindogan himself sailed home when Radito Banzon hit another powerful ball that took him to second base.

Banzon made it 5-1 for Blue Eagles towards the end of the fourth.

Sydney University added a run courtesy of Stuart Wright in the fifth innings, 2-5, but runner Salvatierra cruised home, 6-2, after Alindogan fired another fast ball to the center outfield.

The Australians rallied with two runs in succession by Lachlan Arford and Nicholas Doller, 4-6, in the seventh.

But Blue Eagles replied with four runs in the eighth by Adriane Bernardo, Banzon, Marco Mallari and Miguel Habana to seal the championship, 10-4.

The champions also took the other top honors with Paulo Macasaet voted the Most Winning Pitcher with two strikeouts, Mallari recording the most hits, and Alindogan taking the most stolen bases.

Mallari was also voted the Most Valuable Player in the Club Team Pool.

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