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BBL: JUNIOR NATIONALS SWEEP A’S

The BBL Championship Series is set after the Paradise Fitness Junior Nationals defeated the Bank of Guam A’s in Game 3 to sweep the series setting up a title match against the AM Insurance Orioles.

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By Robert Balajadia

Game’s 1 & 2 of the Budweiser Baseball League’s semifinal series between the Paradise Jr. Nationals and Bank of Guam Athletics were decided by one run each. Game 3, however, not so much.

The Jr. Nationals erupted for 20 runs to beat the A’s 20-10 via 10-run mercy rule through eight innings after getting the final two at Jr. Nationals’ Daniel Cruz at bat. Cruz had hit a solid shot center field that brought in the final two runs in walk off fashion to officially sweep the A’s in the best of five series 3-0.

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Guahan Soldier Player of the Game Lorenzo Flores.

Lorenzo Flores and the Jr. Nationals wasted no time getting a huge start to the game after Flores cleared the bases with a 3RBI double to quickly put the Jr. Nationals up 4-0 after the first inning.

The Nats’ managed to tack on three more runs in the second and three more in the third inning to go up 10-0 appearing to run away with the game.

“The key thing today was that we came to play baseball and we didn’t come to mess around. We came here focused on one thing, which was to sweep this playoff series. I have to give it up to all my boys, without them I wouldn’t be able to do this. I closed [the game] but they were the ones pushing me forward,” said Flores on the teams big run output.

The Comeback That Almost Was

The A’s could have easily ducked their heads and concede to defeat, but the team had a 4th inning rally that where they scored six runs that carried their momentum all the way to the 7th inning where the A’s were dealt a questionable call that appeared to cut the rope on the comeback.

Trailing 13-7 in the top of the 7th inning, the A’s got into form after getting an RBI single from regaining MVP Mike Bautista followed by an RBI single from Randy Alcantara to dice the lead 13-9. A wild pitch scored another run for the A’s cutting the lead 13-10 with two men left on base.

Then the call happened.

Flores’ was at the mound trying to close out the A’s in the 7th with A’s Ignacio Aldan at bat. Aldan got a hit which wasn’t corralled quick enough to catch a sliding DJ Cruz at second base which forced a throw to first base to try and tag Aldan, but the throw sailed over head allowing the A’s to score a run with two outs away.

However, the umpire on the call eventually called Cruz for an interference which resulted in Aldan being out ending the inning.

The A’s quickly reacted to the call as players and coaches emptied the dugout in disbelief looking for an explanation which ultimately had manager Todd Gillan tossed from the game.

It could not have played out any better for the A’s in the final two innings where they managed to score three runs in the 6th inning and four in the 7th to knock the A’s out of the playoffs.

Flores brought home teammate Jesse Miner after Miner had a lead off single. Two throwing errors allowed the Jr. Nationals to tack on two more runs in the 7th to end the inning.

Cruz then put the nail in the coffin with his final at bat two set up a Championship Series against the AM Inusrance Orioles who defeated the five-time defending champion IT&E Braves in five games.

The Championship seven-game Series will begin on Tuesday.

The Jr. Nationals are the youngest team in the league and are going to be facing off against veterans who know how to handle the pressure of winning a championship game. The Jr. National’s and Flores understand that but aren’t backing away from the challenge.

“The Orioles are the veteran team and we’re still young. Of course everyone looks at us like we don’t know anything yet, but we’re going to come right at them, come at them strong and bring our ‘A’ game,” ended Flores.

A's Randy Alcantara takes advantage of an error and sprints home to bring in a run in the 7th inning. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

A’s Randy Alcantara takes advantage of an error and sprints home to bring in a run in the 7th inning. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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