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PHILLIES SWEEP ATHLETICS 3-0

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By Robert Balajadia

Phillies’ starting pitcher J.D. San Nicolas. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Phillies’ starting pitcher J.D. San Nicolas. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Everyone knew each game was going to be down-to-the-wire between the Crown Bakery Phillies and Bank of Guam Athletics, but not many people predicted a sweep.

Phillies’ pitcher J.D. San Nicolas pitched all nine innings, getting seven strikeouts in the closest game of the series, beating the Athletics 3-2 and completing the 3-0 sweep.  The Phillies will play Da Braves Tuesday July 23 in Game 1 of the best-of-seven championship series. Da Braves are looking to win their fifth straight BBL title and are the heavy favorites.

The Phillies were heading into the eighth inning still clinging on to the 3-2 lead when San Nicolas caught fire.  Athletics’ first batter of the inning D.J. Cruz was struck out by San Nicolas, followed by Ryan Martinez who was also left swinging for the out.  A’s big hitter Mike Bautista could not generate a base hit ending the inning, keeping the Phillies lead safe.

Jathan Muna-Barnes put the Phillies in position to further the lead with a base hit that turned into a double off an A’s error, while advancing teammate Mike Cruz to third base.  Phillies’ Shon Muna Jr. managed to create contact with the ball, but a great play at second base allowed A’s catcher Bautista to make the play on Cruz at home to prevent the score.

The A’s were down to their final chance to force a game four in the bottom of the ninth inning with San Nicolas still at the mound.  San Nicolas managed to strike out A’s lead hitter Randy Alcantara which got the Phillies’ players and fans cheering as they sensed the games end.  Paul Pangelinan could not beat the throw to first base putting the A’s in a deeper hole with two outs and no men on base.

The following A’s batter Roke Alcantra Jr. was walked but teammate Kris Koneshiro got a base hit which advanced Alcantara to second base.  With the pressure building and just one out away from victory, San Nicolas started getting anxious.

Phillies’ shortstop Jathan Muna-Barnes tosses the ball to second baseman Tim Cruz to make the double play. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Phillies’ shortstop Jathan Muna-Barnes tosses the ball to second baseman Tim Cruz to start the double play. (photo by Jesse Castro)

“It was very nerve-racking, but we just had to have a lot of confidence.  We had two outs, just needed to trust the guys and not just myself.  We have eight other good players behind me.  I was good to go the entire game,” stated San Nicolas.

Ignacio Aldan tried to bring home Alcantara Jr. but could not get enough distance on the hit, getting tagged out at first base, ending the game.

Rick Fernandez gets the loss for the A’s with four strikeouts while relief pitcher Sean Cruz finished the three strikeouts.

Tim Cruz got the lone RBI for the Phillies as they scored all their runs in the fourth inning.  Roke Alcantara had an RBI for the Athletics with Bautista and Randy Alcantara scoring the teams only runs.

With one upset over, San Nicolas and the Phillies now set their sights on the best in the league in Da Braves.  San Nicolas elaborated saying,”During the regular season we went 1-1 with them and we just need to keep that confidence, go out there and play hard.  ‘Small-ball,’ that’s all it is.”

Da Braves and Phillies are slated to play every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday until the winner is determined.

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

http://www.akguam.com/ou/tamuning-scion/

Athletics’ Randy Alcantara starts his swing to send the ball out for a single. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Athletics’ Randy Alcantara starts his swing to send the ball out for a single. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Athletics’ starting pitcher Rick Fernandez. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Athletics’ starting pitcher Rick Fernandez. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Phillies’ Brandon San Nicolas cracks out a grounder towards left field and will go on for a single. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Phillies’ Brandon San Nicolas cracks out a grounder towards left field and will go on for a single. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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