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BRAVES TAKE SEASON OPENER

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By Gus Untalan

A’s third baseman Gerald Santos with ball in glove turns to get the tag against Braves runner Glen Fernandez. (Photo By Jesse Castro).

A’s third baseman Gerald Santos with ball in glove turns to get the tag against Braves runner Glen Fernandez. (photo by Jesse Castro)

In an exciting match up, the Braves proved their dominance by defeating the Bank of Guam Athletics 10–6 Friday evening at the Paseo Stadium in the opening game of the 2013 Budweiser Baseball League. Prior to the start, the Braves were awarded their championship trophy for last year’s title win.

“Bank of Guam’s a great team, it’s a good way to start the season off (with a win),” said the Braves BJ Balajadia.

After being down a run for the first three innings, the Braves finally overcame the deficit taking advantage of crucial errors by the Athletics in the bottom of the fourth. With two runners on base, an overthrow to second by Bank of Guam allowed Rico Castro and Alan Sarmiento to run home giving the Braves their first lead of the game. Once in the driver’s seat, the Braves never looked back. A couple of batters later, veteran Tony Doyle cranked the ball to right field sending home Glen Fernandez for the RBI single. The Braves ended the inning up 4–2.

Brave’s Cliff Raphael threw the ball towards first base while A’s runner Ignacio Aldan tries to beat the ball to the bag. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Brave’s Cliff Raphael throws towards first base while A’s runner Ignacio Aldan tries to beat the ball to the bag. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Braves used the momentum built in the fourth adding plenty of insurance in the bottom of the fifth inning. Former AK Islander Dominic Cruz sparked the run hitting a RBI single to left field that drove home John Salas. Cruz along with BJ Balajadia would tag home plate a few batters later off a two-run-scoring single by first baseman Castro to deep center field. Glen Fernandez then brought home Castro hitting a RBI single to left field. The final run of the inning came off a RBI single by JT Tuquero that drove home Alan Sarmiento.

This matchup is the first in which the new roster for the Braves has played together. “It’s great, it makes a lot of things easier, any of those guys can easily start on any team,” added Balajadia on the new additions to the Braves in former AK Islander players.

Bank of Guam came out hot scoring two runs in the opening inning. An RBI single by Roke Alcantara, Jr. drove home Don Franquez. Alcantara would later reach home a few plays later off an overthrow to first.

A’s Randy Alcantara hit a grounder towards second base. (Photo By Jesse Castro)

A’s Randy Alcantara hit a grounder towards second base. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Athletics put up a fight till the end adding two runs in the top of the eighth inning. Second baseman Ryan Martinez smacked the ball to deep left field that drove home Mark Paulino and Peter Mantanona on the two RBI double.

The final run for Bank of Guam came in the top of the ninth inning as Mike Bautista stole home on a wild pitch by the Braves.

In the win, Braves lead pitcher Cliff Raphael finished with four strikeouts. Balajadia of the Braves finished with three stolen bases off no hits at bat. In the loss, Athletics catcher Mike Bautista hit an impressive solo triple, the first of the season.

BBL action continues 7 p.m. Sunday evening at the Paseo Stadium as the Saipan Cyclones face off against the Agana Heights Cougars.

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QUICK HITS

Former JFK basketball standout Alschea Grape gets to ball with retired NBA star Jamal Crawford.
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