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COUGARS NOTCH FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON

The Academy Cougars got their first win of the season over the Guam High Panthers Wednesday afternoon as the girls softball season reached its second week of action in clear skies.

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By Michael J.A. Nauta Jr.

After opening the 2014 IIAAG High School Girls Softball League with a gut-wrenching loss to the John F. Kennedy Lady Islanders, the Academy of Our Lady of Guam Cougars shook it off and returned to action yesterday afternoon with a mission. Taking on the Guam High School Lady Panthers at the GW Field, both teams battled through seven innings of play. When the final out of the game was recorded, the scoreboard reflected a 12-6 score giving the Cougars their first victory of the season.

“We knew that the our season-opener loss would not bring us down, but give us a great sense of motivation coming into this game,” said Academy’s Meagan Maratita. “Today’s game showed that we can bounce back from anything and turn it into a positive.”

The Cougars set the tone early in the opening-inning with Guam High at-bat. Maratita took the mound and wasted no time as she recorded her first strikeout needing only three pitches. The Panthers had some difficulty connecting with the ball and eventually found themselves on defense three batters later. In the bottom of the first, Academy’s offense opened a 2-0 lead courtesy of a two-run inside-the-park homerun by Saij Duenas.

“It was all confidence that allowed for that long hit,” said Duenas. “ I had a very good feeling about it the second I connected with the ball.”

Before the Cougars returned to the plate in the second-inning, Maratita kept the Panthers hitless after recording two strikeouts and plating four batters. Offensively, Academy upped their lead to 5-0 after Paige Pereira, Aolani Cruz, and Kiana Rivera crossed home plate. Duenas continued her hot hitting as she recorded a two-RBI single in the inning.

Later in the top of the fourth, Guam High ended the scoreless drought and trimmed their deficit down to four. After a single to leftfield put Agnes Neal on the base path, the Panthers’ Cylynthia Dargan stroked a single that eventually drove Neal in making it a 5-1 game. Defensively, Guam High held ground in the bottom-half as starting pitcher Kayla Blend retired the side facing four batters to include her third strikeout of the game.

Just when the Panthers looked to get a rally started, Academy immediately put a halt and responded heavily in their half of the fifth. Led by four combined RBIs by the trio of Kiersten Pangelinan, Cristiana Carbullido, and Maratita, the Cougars rebuilt a 9-1 lead.

Cougars’ Ashley Borja scores while Panthers’ catcher Adriana Johnson struggles to gain control of the ball. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ Ashley Borja scores while Panthers’ catcher Adriana Johnson struggles to gain control of the ball. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Later in the sixth, Guam High sparked a small surge and managed to add three runs on the board making it a five-run game. With teammate Nia Walker in scoring position, Blend hit a long single that allowed Walker to reach home plate. Academy’s Maratita ran into a bit of trouble and gave up two more runs before managing to retired the side with back-to-back strikeouts.

Heading into the top of the seventh, the Panthers trailed 12-4 and needed at least eight runs to extend the game. Despite allowing their opponents to score two runs, the Academy defense managed to end the game without further harm and clinch the victory.

“Academy is a really good team and they played well today,” said Guam High’s Blend. “They are a bunch of girls who put on a show of great teamwork and bond.”

Maratita who pitched a complete game and recorded ten strikeouts led the Cougars. Offensively, Duenas went a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with a homerun, triple, single, walk and four RBIs. In the losing effort, Guam High’s Blend recorded four strikeouts from the mound, while teammate Neal went 3-for-3 with a double, two singles, walk, and three stolen bases.

2014 IIAAG High School Girls Softball League action returns to the diamond on Saturday with the following games scheduled to start at 10am:

  • Guam High vs. Southern at Southern
  • JFK vs. GW at GW
  • Okkodo vs. Simon Sanchez at Okkodo

(Guam High vs. AOLG)

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

R

H

E

Guam High Panthers

0

0

0

1

0

3

2

6

7

6

Academy Cougars

2

3

0

0

4

3

X

12

6

2

 

PHOTO GALLERY:

Cougars’ Kiana Rivera arrived at first base with Panthers first baseman Tara Concepcion trying to make the catch. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ Kiana Rivera arrived at first base with Panthers first baseman Tara Concepcion trying to make the catch. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Panthers’ Jade Cain at bat and hits the ball between second and first. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Panthers’ Jade Cain at bat and hits the ball between second and first. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Panthers’ starting pitcher Kayla Blend pitches against the Cougars. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Panthers’ starting pitcher Kayla Blend pitches against the Cougars. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ starting pitcher Meagan Maratita starts the game against the Panthers. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ starting pitcher Meagan Maratita starts the game against the Panthers. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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