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FERNANDO DIAZ LAID TO REST

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By Patrick Lujan

Guam bid farewell to one of its finest baseball players to ever play the game.

The name Fernando Diaz was synonymous with the words hustle, hard work and dedication. Diaz played throughout the Guam Major League and Budweiser Baseball League and into the Guam Masters League before passing away last week.

Diaz was a multiple All-Star playing center field and batting leadoff mostly for the old UOG Tritons, Continental Golden Jets and Exxon Tigers. He was laid to rest Thursday after funeral services at the Maina Catholic Church.

GSPN was able to get some other baseball legend’s reflection on possibly the greatest centerfielder to ever roam Paseo Stadium.

John Hattig (UOG/Continental left fielder): He would always give you a 110%. He’s always a team player. He’ll never give the team any bad vibes. You can always depend on him. He’s got a lot of heart, he was a good man. Playing center field, he always had control. He was a great leadoff hitter. You can almost guarantee he will get on base. He’s one of the batters who’s very hard to strike out and had a really good eye.

Jimmy Pangelinan (Exxon first baseman): He’s an all-around player. You can count on him to come through when anything arises: get on base, steal the base. He had good eyes at the plate and a very selective hitter. We’re going to miss him. He’s got good judgement (in centerfield). We played together in the Exxon Tigers. In the masters league, whenever he got on base, I knew he was going to go either the first pitch or the second pitch.

Randy Kakigi (UOG/Continental pitcher): He was a good teammate. A really tough competitor. It was worse when I had to play against him. He was always distracting because he was always a threat to steal. When we were teammates, anything out there (in centerfield) he would catch it…it was like 100% of the time and it made my job a lot easier. Good comfort for me. He was the catalyst for our team (as the leadoff hitter). Whenever he got on base, it was almost a guarantee he would take second on a steal.

JR Hattig (Continental bat boy): As a bat boy with the Jets, he was one of the premier centerfielders and the leadoff guy who can hit for power and average. He would always talk about fundamentals. It was a joy to watch him play. He was one of the first users of the ceramic bat. I remember him tracking balls down, throwing guys out. He was a five-tool player, he was all around.

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Since forming the GNYFF in 2009, the league has never gone without a season until 2020. The league announced their plans to cancel the 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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RIP: Former Guam football player Phil Mendiola, shown here with son Tano, passed away in Las Vegas due to a heart attack. Mendiola played for numerous Guam teams from youth to varsity. He was 39.
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Morgan McKenna (left with black face mask) poses for a photo with Guam Football Association Technical Director Sang Hoon Kim (seated, with blue face mask) and Guam Football Association Assistant Technical Director Ross Awa (standing) after signing his letter of commitment to play intercollegiate men’s soccer for Muskingum University in Ohio. The Fighting Muskies compete in NCAA Division III’s Ohio Athletic Conference.

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