REDEMPTION FUELS GECKOS TO 2015 TITLE

REDEMPTION FUELS GECKOS TO 2015 TITLE

📅19 December 2015
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By Robert Balajadia

The GW Geckos baseball team successfully redeemed their 2014 season title loss by beating out the JFK Islanders 8-5 in the baseball title game at the Okkodo Baseball Field Saturday evening.

The road to redemption started immediately after their loss to the Southern Dolphins in 2014 as they approached the 2015 playoffs more serious and with more confidence than ever before.

“Our mindset never changed from the very last out from last years loss to the Dolphins. Since then, we committed ourselves to work into getting back into the finals for another chance to win the title. The whole season was dedicated to that effort to do the best we could and we worked hard to beat the teams we faced all playoffs long. Our players were motivated and played motivated,” said Geckos head coach John Salas.

“All the hard work we put in all season since that loss has finally paid off. It feels real good,” said Geckos starting pitcher Reed Seman.

Seman pitched the games first four innings before relief pitcher Alan Gillan closed out the final three where the Islanders only scored one unearned run in the 7th inning from the 5th inning on.

The Islanders stuck behind pitcher Nolan Chamberlain through all six innings.

The 1st inning presented trouble for Seman after walking the Islanders with the bases loaded, giving JFK a 1-0 lead with just one out away. Instead of bursting under the early pressure, Seman stayed level headed and escaped the inning which gave him confidence.

“After I got out of the inning I started to regain confidence, mostly in our defense. I just had to hit my spots from that point on. We practice really hard in practice and we all just kept out composure,” said the junior Seman on escaping the 1st inning.

GW only held a 6-4 lead heading into the 6th inning where they got a late offensive surge to further their lead. Gecko Rodney Cruz got a lead single turned double after an error in the outfield. GW’s Jude Santos and Daniel Paniguitan helped Cruz get a run in on a fielders choice to go up 7-4.

Another error, a passed ball, allowed the Geckos to tack on another run to go up 8-4 with the Islanders heading into their final chance to extend the game.

The Geckos dogpile on top of relief pitcher Alan Gillan after Gillan struck out the Islanders final batter to ice the 2015 title. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

The Geckos dogpile on top of relief pitcher Alan Gillan after Gillan struck out the Islanders final batter to ice the 2015 title. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

All playoffs long GW had been getting off to good starts and the title game was no different. The hits opened up scoring opportunities with the Islanders allowing six of the Geckos runs to score off errors.

The Geckos opened up the 1st inning with three runs, two off errors, and an RBI from Cruz. GW then tacked on three more unearned runs in the 3rd inning to take a 6-1 advantage before the Islanders began to mount a comeback in the 4th.

Islander Cole Palomo smacked ball right through the left side of the defense for a 2RBI single to get JFK within 6-3. JFK’s Devin Duenas brought in league MVP AJ Benavente to trim the lead 6-4 when Geckos head coach John Salas called for time to settle down his pitcher.

Seman responded by striking out Islander Luke Iguel to once again put a lid on a possible JFK scoring run.

The runs in the 6th inning proved to be much needed with JFK being able score one run in the 7th, which would’ve made it a single score game had the Geckos went empty in the 6th.

“Every run is important to us. We’ve had some games where we’ve had a large lead, but our players understood the significance of this particular game. They were very alert and came way with those runs in the 6th, but I trust our defense whole heartedly,” said Salas.

Gecko Alan Gillan had the games final play after the unearned run, striking out the Islanders for the game clincher.

‘Ice-Cream Time’

Throughout the contest Geckos head coach Salas often called out to his team saying, ‘It’s Ice-Cream Time!’. But what exactly is ‘Ice-cream Time’?

“That’s a saying I’ve always had since my days coaching the Exxon Tigers and managing the UOG Tritons to numerous championships,” laughed Salas. “When a guy gets into scoring position the batter has to light it up because he’s got some ice cream cones coming his way after the game.”

How have the Geckos responded to coach Salas’ famous saying? A 2015 title, of course.

“Our guys take the saying to heart. When they hear it, they know they need to be selective on what they see in the batters box and strive to make the hit that brings in the runs,” added Salas.

Consolation Game

The FD Friars defeated the Southern Dolphins 4-3 in the 3rd place game that played just before the Geckos and Islanders for the title.

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The 2015 2nd place winners, the JFK Islanders. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

The 2015 2nd place winners, the JFK Islanders. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

JFK Islander Cole Palomo fires off a deep shot left for a 2RBI single. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

JFK Islander Cole Palomo fires off a deep shot left for a 2RBI single. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Geckos Jared Samosa quickly slides back to 2nd after the Islanders errant throw to try and catch Samosa. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Geckos Jared Samosa quickly slides back to 2nd after the Islanders errant throw to try and catch Samosa. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Gecko Reed Seman beats the throw to third in the 1st inning. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Gecko Reed Seman beats the throw to third in the 1st inning. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

JFK Islander Nolan Chamberlain never left the mound, pitching all six innings. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

JFK Islander Nolan Chamberlain never left the mound, pitching all six innings. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Geckos Reed Seman lets loose for an early inning strikeout. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Geckos Reed Seman lets loose for an early inning strikeout. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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