By Colin Leon Guerrero
The Southern Dolphins found themselves in the same position that they have found themselves in for the past four years, the IIAAG Girls Softball Championship. This year, Southern edged out the George Washington Geckos 4-3 Saturday afternoon at LeoPalace.
Having split the regular season meetings between each other, both teams gave everything they had in a classic seven-inning drag out.
In the first inning, GW looked hungry to beat the Dolphins and claim the championship behind a strong RBI triple from Tiana Perez that brought in Coleen Quinata, putting the Geckos up 1-0. League MVP, Ritanna Pocaigue, would sacrifice a run to bring in Perez, giving GW a 2-0 lead at the top of the first inning.
Southern would answer back, however, after Misty Santos gave up a run in order for Liberty Tajalle to score, cutting the lead 2-1. Southern was denied any chance at advancing beyond first as the Geckos’ defense held its own to close out the first inning.
It was obvious that these two teams were familiar with each other’s game as both defenses made some minor adjustments to take advantage of the other’s weaknesses.
Santos, who was selected All-Island for catcher, played centerfielder in the game, came up huge for the Dolphins making impressive stops in the outfield denying the Geckos from hitting anything deep in the outfield.
Pocaigue showed why she was chosen league MVP as she packed the heat, throwing six K’s and keeping the Geckos in the game. Her teammates would follow her lead as they began to pick up momentum at the top of the sixth after a RBI triple by Celeene Mendiola allowing Leandra Castro to come home, adding the Geckos lead 3-2.
There was never much breathing room for that lead as Southern’s Brielle Meno took over the game late at the bottom of the sixth inning. Meno made a key defensive stop on Wynette Takeo who was trying to tie the game for the Geckos.
“We were so hyper and we were trying to get the butterflies out of our stomach,” said Meno commenting on the Dolphin’s slow start. Meno, a senior playing her last season, made the play of the game with a leadoff triple at the bottom of the sixth, igniting the Southern fans into a frenzy. “That was for my girls, since it’s my last year I wanted to do everything I can to win another championship,” commented Meno on the hit as she finished two for three recording a triple and two RBIs.
Meno described the season as spectacular, praising her new teammates for a job well done this season as the Dolphins, for the fourth time in a row, reigned supreme as champions of the IIAAG Girls Softball 2013 season.
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