By Robert Balajadia
The Crown Bakery Phillies dropped Game 1 against Da Braves after giving up a late lead, but Game 2’s late lead was kept safe as the Phillies tied the series 1-1 with a 6-5 victory in Game 2 of the Budweiser Baseball League Championship Series Friday night at the Paseo Stadium.
Phillies’ relief pitcher Eric Cepeda began the 9th inning with his team up 6-4 while striking out Da Braves lead hitter John Salas to bring his team within two outs of taking Game 2. Cepeda walked Braves Glen Fernandez and allowed B.J. Balajadia to get on base a batter later after electing not to throw directly to first base after picking up Balajadia’s infield grounder.
Both Fernandez and Balajadia were then able to advance to third and second base after a passed ball as teammate Jared Palomo was at bat.
Palomo hit a solo-home-run earlier in the eighth inning to cut the lead 6-4, and continued to aid the Braves by getting an RBI while getting tagged out at first base to bring them within a single run, 6-5, with Balajadia at third base for the game-tying run.
The Phillies needed just one out to end the game with Da Braves’ Rico Castro at bat when Castro hit a pop-fly out to rightfield where Branden Fernandez made the play on the ball to end the game.
“I’ve been in this position before and I was just pitching like there were no runners on base. I had confidence in my defense and we had one more at bat. I had confidence in our teams hitting too,” stated Cepeda on getting the last inning save.
Winning pitcher RJ Joe was pitching a no-hitter through the first two and two-thirds of the game before Palomo got a base hit to break the streak. Joe finished with six strikeouts while allowing just five hits and three runs.
“We had to keep just keep the ball in play and not try and over-power the hitters. It was mostly our hitting that won the game, our hitting has been awesome,” modestly stated Joe.
Tim Muna was the leading man for the Phillies going 2-for-2 with two RBI while Branden Fernandez went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Da Braves losing pitcher John Pangelinan finished with seven strikeouts, allowing 10 hits and five runs. Both Pangelinan and Joe were off hot starts, collecting 6K’s each in the first five innings.
The Philles committed two errors in the final inning that almost allowed Da Braves to tie the game while Da Braves committed four costly errors that accounted for three of the Phillies six runs.
Game 3 will be played on Sunday night with Game 4 on Tuesday and the now forced Game 5 the following Friday.
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