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PHILLIES EXTINGUISH SMOKEY’S

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By Gus Untalan

Smokey’s Chris Concepcion heads towards first base after hitting a short grounder which was picked up by Phillies pitcher Derwin Aguon and sent it to base for the out. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Smokey’s Chris Concepcion heads towards first base after hitting a short grounder which was picked up by Phillies pitcher Derwin Aguon and sent it to base for the out. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Lead by Tim Cruz’s three RBI’s and two hits at bat, the Crown Bakery Phillies won their opening matchup in the Budweiser Baseball League defeating the Smokey’s 16-6 in the “Battle of the New Teams” Tuesday evening at the Paseo Stadium. The game ended in the bottom of the seventh inning via the ten-run mercy rule.

“I felt pretty good in the box,” said Phillies second baseman Tim Cruz. “I’ve been working hard at practice, seeing the ball, hitting the ball. I just felt comfortable tonight.”

The Phillies wasted no time getting on board in the bottom of the opening inning. Former Braves standout Jathan Barnes scored the first run for the Phillies reaching home on a fielder’s choice by the Smokey’s. A few batters later, a RBI by the DH Alejandro Diaz drove home Shon Muna, Jr. to round out the inning with the Phillies up 2-0.

After a few scoreless innings, the Phillies added insurance in the fourth inning. A huge two run scoring double to right field by second baseman Tim Cruz drove home Brandon San Nicolas and John San Nicolas to secure the victory for the Phillies.

Smokey’s Eric Lizama tried to make the catch of this short pop-up. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Smokey’s Eric Lizama tried to make the catch of this short pop-up. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Phillies continued to build on their lead in the bottom of the sixth. Brandon San Nicolas got the ball rolling reaching home off Cruz’s third RBI. Then John San Nicolas added a run on a fielder’s choice. On the next at bat, Cruz stole home on a wild pitch. To close out the inning, Shon Muna, Jr. ran home on a sacrifice fly.

“Overall, I think we gel together pretty well. I could say we’re all comfortable with each other,” added Cruz on the new team.

Despite the loss, the Smokey’s gave the Phillies a brief scare in the top of the seventh inning scoring five runs and come within two runs. Paul Taijeron sparked the run stealing home on a wild pitch. A few batters later, with two runners on base, JR Hattig cranked the ball to left field on a two RBI double. Hatting would later reach home on a bases loaded walk. The final run for the Smokey’s came off a pass ball that allowed Justin Elm to touch home plate safely to end the inning down 8-6.

“(We had) first game jitters, but you know we pulled through as a team,” admitted Cruz.

Smokey’s John Hattig Jr. looked out towards the ball before heading to home plate and scoring for his team. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Smokey’s John Hattig Jr. looked out towards the ball before heading to home plate and scoring for his team. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Phillies then answered back in the bottom of the seventh scoring eight runs to end the game via the mercy rule. With the bases loaded, errors by the Smokey have proved costly. Two back-to-back run-scoring walks allowed the Phillies to regain momentum to pull away and secure the victory. Phillies first baseman Matt Muna hit an impressive 2 RBI double for insurance in his team’s win. Muna would score the final run off an overthrow to first to end the game.

In the win, Phillies relief pitcher Freddy Cepeda finished the game with three strikeouts.

BBL action continues Thursday, Friday and Sunday. All games are at 7 p.m. at the Paseo Stadium.

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