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COUGARS CLAW BELAU MASTERS

The Agana Heights Cougars dominated the Belau Masters in the opening week of the Budweiser Masters Baseball League.

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By Michael J.A. Nauta Jr.

Under the bright lights at Paseo Stadium in Hagatna, the Agana Heights Cougars and Belau Masters battled one another in their first game in the Guam Budweiser Masters Baseball League last night. Looking to notch a season-opening victory, both teams gave everything they’ve got.

However, what began as a tight game eventually blew open and it was the Cougars who walked away with a convincing 14-4 victory. The game was called after five complete innings of play via the league’s ten-run mercy rule.

The Belau Masters wasted no time in the first-inning as they managed to build a 2-0 lead. Back-to-back hits by Roman Beeches and Harry Tesei put Belau runners at the corners early in the inning. Relying on their speed, a double-steal by Beeches and Tesei was a success and failure at the same time. Beeches scored the game’s first run, while Tesei was tagged out at second.

Before the Cougars could get out of the inning, Belau’s second run came courtesy of an RBI single by Clancy Iyekar.

Agana Heights was able to trim their deficit in half in the bottom of the first inning to make it a 2-1 game. Belau starting pitcher Cliff Kyota ran into some early trouble walking the Cougars’ John Farnum and Rick Cruz. Several batters later, Farnum touched home plate after teammate Gene McDonald hit a sacrifice fly to left field.

Later in the third inning, Agana Heights’ starting pitcher Franklin “Spider” Ninete retired the Belau side plating only four batters to include his second strikeout of the game. In the bottom half of the inning, the Cougars took their first lead of the game after scoring two runs.

Shortly after teammate Tim Dungca got on base on an infield single, Rick Cruz stroked a long shot to centerfield that allowed Dungca to equalize the game at 2-2. Before taking the field on defense, Agana Heights’ Luke Tedtaotao would join the party and drive in a run of his own to give his team the one-run lead.

Cougars’ John Mendiola arrives at third base while Belau’s Milton Nigirarois waits for the ball. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ John Mendiola arrives at third base while Belau’s Milton Nigirarois waits for the ball. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Cougars continued to showcase their dominance on both sides of the field in the fourth. Defensively, the gave up one hit before returning back to the plate. It was in the bottom of the inning where a combination of lit up sticks and errors by Belau that allowed the Cougars to score nine unanswered runs to build a commanding 12-2 lead. The trio of McDonald, Farnum, and Jerry Leon Guerrero that combined for five RBIs in the inning.

Heading into the top of the fifth, the Belau Masters needed at least one run to prevent the game from ending via the mercy rule. With Tesei on base after a walk, teammate Lawrence Idelbong took full-advantage and hit a long shot for an RBI-double that made it a 12-3 game an ensured at least another half inning of play. On the ensuing at-bat, Iyekar drove home Idelbong on an hit single to pull Belau within eight.

However, that was all the offense produced before the Cougars were right back on offense. In the bottom of the inning, Agana Heights needed only two runs to end the game and that they got via two passed balls that scored Ken Cruz and Mike Cruz.

The Cougars’ Ninete earned the victory on the mound pitching four complete innings with three strikeouts. Belau’s Kyota was dealt the loss. Offensively, the Cougars were led by McDonald who went 1-for-3 with a double and three-RBIs, while teammate Farnum went 1-for-3 with a single and two-RBIs. In the losing effort, Belau’s Idelbong went 2-for-2 with a double, RBI, and two runs scored.

In the nightcap, the Air Force Reserves held off the Kosrae Masters, 14-9. Rich Mendiola got the win, pitching 2.0 innings, giving up 3 runs, and 4 hits. Alik Skilling suffered the loss, going 1 2/3 innings, giving up 10 runs, and 7 hits. For the AF Reserves, Jess Bamba went 4-for-4, a double, an RBI, and 3 runs scored. Vince Delgada went 3-for-4, a triple, 2 RBI, and 3 runs scored. For the Kosrae Masters, Herman Paul was 2-for-3, an RBI, and 2 runs scored.
 
                              R   H   E
AF Reserve           14  13  7
Kosrae Masters     9    6   2
 
The GBMBL continues on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, at Paseo Stadium with four games, starting at 1:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th R H E
Belau Masters 2 0 0 0 2 X X 4 8 8
AH Cougars 1 0 2 9 2 X X 14 9 3

WP – Franklin “Spider” Ninete

LP – Cliff Kyota

Saturday – February 8 Results

  • Triple J Blue Jays and Santa Rita Braves tied 9-9
  • IP & E Twins defeated Kosrae Masters 29-2

PHOTO GALLERY:

Belau’s Lawrence Idelbong got to second base with this hit and brought a run in.  (photo by Jesse Castro)

Belau’s Lawrence Idelbong got to second base with this hit and brought a run in. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ starting pitcher 22 pitching against Belau. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cougars’ starting pitcher Franklin “Spider” Ninete pitching against Belau. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Belau’s second baseman Fred Usda moves to pick the ball up and beat runner Jerry Leon Guerro to first base. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Belau’s second baseman Fred Usda moves to pick the ball up and beat runner Jerry Leon Guerro to first base. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Belau’s starting pitcher 15 pitching against the Cougars. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Belau’s starting pitcher Cliff Kyota pitching against the Cougars. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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