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JR. NATIONALS TAKE COMMANDING 2-0 LEAD

After a two week layover, the Paseo stadium welcomed back the Budweiser Baseball League Playoffs in Game 2 between the Paradise Fitness Jr. Nationals and the Bank of Guam Athletics were the Jr. Nationals closed out the A’s in the 9th inning to take a 2-0 series lead.

By Robert Balajadia

After a two week layover, the Paseo Stadium welcomed back the Budweiser Baseball League Playoffs in Game 2 between the Paradise Fitness Jr. Nationals and the Bank of Guam Athletics where the Jr. Nationals made a great defensive play in the 9th inning to seal their 7-6 win to go up 2-0 in a best of five series.

The A’s were in prime position to get some payback after losing Game 1 in the bottom of the 9th by facing a one-run deficit, 7-6, in the bottom of the 9th with their power hitters Roke Alcantara and Mike Bautista leading off.

Alcantara got a hit and managed to beat the throw to first base with Bautista stepping up right behind him.

Relief pitcher Javen Delgado came in for the final inning after the Jr. Nationals decided to give starting pitcher Billy Quenga the rest of the night off.

Delgado then struck out Bautista while the catcher Johnny Cruz-Aguon via Delgado made a heads up throw to first base where Lorenzo Flores was able to get the quick tag on Alcantara for the double play. In disbelief, the A’s bench went to make a case for the call, but the play would stand dealing a huge blow to a possible comeback.

The A’s were unsuccessful at the next at bat as outfielder Daniel Cruz made the final play of the night, securing their Game 2 victory with a chance to close out the A’s on Tuesday June 17.

8th Inning Rally

Trailing 7-3 in the bottom of the 8th, the A’s needed to make a push to try and steal momentum. Bautista quickly got the team in rhythm with a lead-off double.

a batter later, A’s Mark Paulino was able to beat the throw to first while Bautista took third. Quenga then walked Kin Fernandez Jr. loading. Quenga managed to strike out Fofo Sontos and was hoping to make escape the inning with the bases still jacked.

Quenga would walk Cameron Tawai which brought in a run which appeared to give the A’s the momentum stealing play they were looking for.

A’s DJ Cruz used a bunt which lead to an error by the Jr. Nationals letting another run score to cut the lead 7-5. A pass ball allowed another run to score cutting the lead 7-6. With the bases loaded again, Roke Alcantara was stepping up to bat with Quenga starting to slip.

Jr. Nationals' Jesse Miner makes a great play at second base getting the out. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Jr. Nationals’ Jesse Miner makes a great play at second base getting the out. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Before anything could happen, A’s Cameron Tawai was caught too far from third base which allowed the Jr. Nationals to chase him down for the innings final out, ultimately saving the game.

Building the Lead

Much like Game 1, The A’s scored their first two runs early in the game but the Jr. Nationals quickly responded tying the game at two until the Jr. Nationals put together a great 6th and 7th inning to create separation.

The bases were loaded for Flores in the top of the 6th inning while also facing a full count on A’s starting pitcher Paul Pangelinan. Flores didn’t shy away from swinging and hit a solid shot through center field for a 2RBI single.

Jr. Nationals’ Kel Francisco managed to bring a run after the fielders choice which tagged Francisco out at first to go up 5-2.

The Jr. Nationals managed to score two more runs in the top of the 8th inning while holding off the A’s rally in final two innings.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Jr. Nationals' Daniel Cruz is safe at first after an error. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Jr. Nationals’ Daniel Cruz is safe at first after an error. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Jr. Nationals' starting pitcher Billy Quenga. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Jr. Nationals’ starting pitcher Billy Quenga. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Jr. Nationals' coach Shon Muna calls a timeout to settle down Quenga. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Jr. Nationals’ coach Shon Muna calls a timeout to settle down Quenga. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

A's Mike Bautista awaits a well thrown ball to get the out at first. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

A’s Mike Bautista awaits a well thrown ball to get the out at first. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

A's Mike Bautista makes the athletic grab at first base. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

A’s Mike Bautista makes the athletic grab at first base. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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