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GECKOS PUNCH BASEBALL FINALS TICKET

The GW Geckos didn’t let their regular season losses to the FD Friars phase them as they knocked out the top seeded Friars from the baseball playoffs and will face the Southern Dolphins, who defeated the Okkodo Bulldogs.

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By Michael J.A. Nauta Jr.

During their two regular season meetings, the Father Duenas Friars upended the George Washington Geckos both times in IIAAG High School Baseball League action. Tuesday afternoon, both teams met up once more for yet another battle on the diamond. However, only this time the stakes were much higher as each looked to notch a victory and clinch a spot in the league’s championship game.

With fans cheering them on from the bleachers at Paseo Stadium, the two teams needed seven innings to determine a winner. After recording the final out of the game, it was the Geckos who celebrated the win and the right to advance after beating the Friars 5-2.

“Both teams came to play today and we knew what we had to do in order to come out with the win,” said GW starting pitcher Isaiah Nauta. “Coach put the ball in my hands to start the game. I knew that my teammates had my back and I just needed to do my job from the mound,” added Nauta who pitched a complete game while recording eight strikeouts in the game.

GW's SP Isaiah Nauta pitches a complete game against FD to advance to the Championship round. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s starting pitcher Isaiah Nauta tosses a complete game against FD to advance to the Championship Game. (photo by Joey Blas)

If the start of the game was any indication of what type of game was in store, then fans knew that it was going to be a tight one. Neither team was able to push any runs across as both defenses denied any opportunities in the first. However, in the top of the second the Geckos looked to strike first when a double by Nauta put a runner on the base paths. Before, the Friars could end the inning Nauta eventually found his way home courtesy of a Friars error.

Later in the third, Father Duenas managed to retire the Geckos in three-up, three-down fashion to put themselves back on offense. An error by GW in the bottom half put lead off batter Blayne Hattori on base. A few batters later, a single by Javin Delgdo advanced Hattori into a scoring position. Before the end of the inning, the Friars equalized the game when Hattori scored off a GW throwing error.

Errors became costly for both teams and the plague continued into the fourth inning when the Geckos regained a 3-1 lead. With runners on second and third, the Geckos Rico Seman stroked a grounder to FD second baseman Masaki Cramer who committed an error allowing runners to cross home plate. In the bottom half of the inning, FD trimmed their deficit in half after a passed ball made way for Bryton Cepeda to score.

FD's Napu San Miguel takes a hack at a pitch in the fifth inning. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD’s Napu San Miguel, league MVP, takes a hack at a pitch in the fifth inning. (photo by Joey Blas)

Not comfortable with their 3-2 lead, the Geckos went to work in the top of the fifth inning. Back-to-back singles by Hank Sablan and Reed Seman got things going for GW. An error by FD scored Sablan (the sixth unearned run of the game). With the game going into the later innings, Jacob Bamba stroked an RBI-single to give the Geckos a 5-2 lead after four and a half.

“Coming into this game we knew that we had to play hard, but stay calm and focused,” said the senior Bamba. “Driving in the fifth run of the game just gave us a little more cushion, but even at that point we couldn’t be too comfortable against a good team like FD.”

Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Friars needed to mount a comeback if they wanted any chance of advancing to the championship game. However, together with the defense behind him, Nauta retired the Friars side in order to include his eight strikeout of the game to end the match and secure the victory.

“Defense was a big key to our win,” said Nauta. “That along with believing in what we can do as a team has taken us this far, but we are not done because we still have one more game. So we just have to work hard and get ready to play in the championship game.”

With the victory the Geckos move on to the championship game scheduled for this Saturday at Paseo Stadium.

Other Game

Southern 11, Okkodo 2

After a 2-2 tie in the early innings, the Dolphins pulled away in the later innings to make it back to the championship game. Check out photos in the gallery below!

PHOTO GALLERY:

GW's Baseball Team celebrate beating FD 5-2 to advance to championship round. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW’s Baseball Team celebrate beating FD 5-2 to advance to championship round. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD's Javin Delgado beats out an hit to third base. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD’s Javin Delgado beats out an hit to third base. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD's Kole Ada comes in to relief in the sixth inning. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD’s Kole Ada comes in to relief in the sixth inning. (photo by Joey Blas)

Geckos LF Jacob Bamba hits a RBI double to left field. (photo by Joey Blas)

Geckos LF Jacob Bamba hits a RBI double to left field. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD's Pitcher delivers a pitch in the fifth inning against GW. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD’s Pitcher delivers a pitch in the fifth inning against GW. (photo by Joey Blas)

Southern's Cody Terlaje comes in to score from second base on a deep hit to center field. (photo by Joey Blas)

Southern’s Cody Terlaje comes in to score from second base on a deep hit to center field. (photo by Joey Blas)

Southern's Anthony Chaco slides safely at third base. (photo by Joey Blas)

Southern’s Anthony Chaco slides safely at third base. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo player comes home to score on a hit to left field. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo player comes home to score on a hit to left field. (photo by Joey Blas)

Dolphins Cori Duenas hits an infield field fly. (photo by Joey Blas)

Dolphins Cori Duenas hits an infield field fly. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo Starting Pitcher delivers a pitch in the second inning against Dolphins. (photo by Joey Blas)

Okkodo Starting Pitcher delivers a pitch in the second inning against Dolphins. (photo by Joey Blas)

Southern batter tries to lay a bunt down, but went foul. (photo by Joey Blas)

Southern batter tries to lay a bunt down, but went foul. (photo by Joey Blas)

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