Dumaguete swept its weekend games, including a scrambling 18-17 victory over Taguig to grab the solo lead in the Baseball Philippines Series 9 at the Parade Grounds in Clark Field, Pampanga last Sunday.
The Uni-bikers came away with 15 hits and scored three runs in the ninth while holding the Patriots to two runs in their last stand to clinch their second win in the day and third overall against one loss for the lead in the early going of the league organized by Community Sports Inc.
But while Dumaguete hurdled its two matches, Batangas and Alabang dropped their Sunday afternoon games, enabling the Uni-bikers to storm in front in the league sponsored by Gatorade, Emperador Light, Clark Development Corp., Harbour Centre, Philippine Transmarine Corp. and Eagle Sky Inc. and backed by Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Amateur Baseball Association and the Philippine Umpires Association.
Joennard Pareja had four RBIs, including a lead-off home run in the first inning, his second of the series, as the Cebu Dolphins drubbed the Bulls, 17-6, after seven innings.
The four-peat seeking Manila Sharks, on the other hand, dealt the Tigers their second straight loss in the day, 11-5.
The Dolphins, Sharks, Bulls and Tigers are tied for second at 2-2 while the Patriots trail the field with a 1-3 mark despite tallying 16 hits in their loss to the Uni-bikers.
Coming off a 10-3 romp over Alabang in the morning match, the Uni-bikers faced a 15-all count after the eighth then Dio Remollo doubled and stole third base to start the ninth before scoring a triple to deep right field by Nelson Salazar, who then scored when Carlo Conge reached first base on a bunt single.
Conge crossed home when Taguig catcher Dennis Daep tried to put out Mike Gante while stealing second base, giving Dumaguete a three-run lead.
Ronald Bocalan and Justin Payongayong delivered key runs for Taguig which came within one-run with no outs. But Dumaguete’s reliever Tsuyoshi Horibata forced a groundout to Nikko Reyes and a game-ending double play to Daep as the Uni-bikers frustrated the Patriots.
Meanwhile, the league resumes on May 6 to give way to a national softball tournament also slated in Clark this weekend.