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BRAVES LOOK FOR 5 STRAIGHT

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The Moylan’s ODC Braves are locked and loaded for yet another run at the BBL title. They are coming off their Game 7 heroics from a year ago that made it four straight championships. (GSPN file photo)

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By Gus Untalan

The much-anticipated return of the Budweiser Baseball League is finally set to start on Friday, March 1st 2013 with the four-time defending Champion Moylan’s ODC Braves facing off against the Bank of Guam Athletics.

The Braves will be gunning for an unprecedented fifth straight title, and they’re stronger than ever. They are coming off a dramatic championship series last June 2012 where they won Game 7 in walk-off fashion over the AK Islanders.

“This looks like a great season all around,” said BBL announcer and public relations officer Mark Colby. “I think every team out there is going to be a team to contend with.”

The biggest surprise going in to the 2013 season is the demise of the AK Islanders team whom were top contenders and part of the BBL for many years.  The split gave way for former Islanders to find new homes on other teams. Most of the veterans from AK went to the Braves to make it a powerhouse sort of a reunion as well as most were part of the successful UOG Tritons in the 1990’s.

“I don’t see one game, that’s gonna be a flash in the pants, easy win,” added Colby.

The league consists of eight teams with each team looking to do well throughout the season.

League games will be played at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday at the Paseo Stadium.  The format will consist of each team playing two rounds in the regular season.  The top four teams will play a best of five playoff series followed by a best of seven championship series between the two winning playoff teams to determine the league champion.

Moylan’s ODC Braves

The repeat champions for the past four years, the Braves are always the team to beat.  The core for the Braves remains in tact with veteran players such as Joe Tuquero, Tony Yatar, Glen Fernandez, Tony Doyle, and BJ Balajadia.  With an already stacked line-up, the Braves welcome heavy hitters from the former Islanders team in veteran Pat Alvarez, Chad Palomo and Dominic Cruz.  The Braves only loss is key player Jathan Muna-Barnes who is now on the Phillies roster.  The Braves will use this powerful line-up in search for their fifth title in a row.

Phillies

Though one of two new additions to the BBL, the Phillies is a team that consists of many BBL familiar faces.  The team originally formed in the Latte Amateur Baseball league and now will compete in the BBL. Notable players on the roster are brothers Eric and Freddy Cepeda who will be on the mound for the Phillies, as well as other former BOG Athletics standouts such as Derwin Aguon and Alejandro Diaz.  The Phillies welcome Luis San Nicolas and Miller Santos who are former Islanders.  Look for the Phillies to be one of the top teams in the 2013 season. Brothers Shon and Eddie Muna will team up to manage this new team.

Bank of Guam Athletics

The BOG Athletics are always one of the top teams in the ranking.  This season however, they have lost key players to other teams.  It will be interesting to see how the new line-up fairs in the upcoming season.  Though their will be new faces to the roster, BOG is never a team to be counted out. Arguably the top left-hander on the island, Roke Alcantara, Jr., will try to will his team to victory. Some new faces will be Gerald Santos playing the left side of the infield, Mike Bautista will do the catching and Mark Paulino comes over from the Cardinals. Former Junior National phenom pitcher Mark Cruz is also on the roster. The A’s also add veteran catcher Johnric Mendiola to the mix.

Agana Heights Cougars

This upcoming season, the Cougars have added new additions to the team and will be a young squad.  In the past, they have always been a scrappy good squad.  Fans can expect them to come out and play hard every single game. The team is made up of the amateur King Car Chiefs managed by Charles McDonald. Troy Simbahan third base will guard the line at third, Ray Terlaje will call the shots behind the plate and John McDonald will be the expected top pitcher.

Paradise Fitness Junior Nationals

The Junior Nationals is the developmental team that consists of youth players that are still in high school.  They always put up a fight and have speed and endurance as an advantage.  They do lack experience with the veterans and most of the players on the roster play in different schools throughout the island.

76 Cardinals

The Cardinals look to have almost the exact line up as last season.  They are a team that is always a contender and plays hard all season long.  Last season, they made it to the playoffs but were eventually defeated by the defending champion Braves. Get used to the names Alerta and Arce.

Smokey’s

Smokey’s is the second of the new team additions to the 2013 season.  They consist mainly of players from Merizo and Yigo.  Their biggest weapon is JR Hattig, who put Guam on the map playing professional baseball in the MLB. It will be exciting to see what this new team will bring to the table.

Saipan Cyclones

The Saipan Cyclones line-up consists of mainly the same roster as last season.  The Cyclones always put up a fight each game.  Last season, they even surprised the league by defeating a top contender in the AK Islanders.  Be sure to witness excitement each time out.

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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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