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DOLPHINS MOVE ON AFTER CRAZY FINISH

Dolphins to face unbeaten Friars in finals

By Nick Akimoto

The Southern Dolphins stunned the Notre Dame Royals as the Dolphins walked away with a 5-4 win in Tuesday night’s ISA Baseball League semifinal matchup at Okkodo Field. After trailing 4-0, Southern would capitalize on key opportunities to score five unanswered runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Dolphins will now play the #1-seeded and unbeaten Father Duenas Friars, who cruised by the Tiyan Titans 14-4 in the other semifinals. The championship game is Saturday night at 7 pm.

Late Game Theatrics

In the bottom of the seventh, with runners on third and second and two outs, Southern gave Marko Parks the signal to steal home. Parks took off as the ball left the ND pitcher Ricardo Leon Guerrero’s hand and made it home as the ball got away from the catcher. Teammate Jayden Duenas, who was on second, followed close behind and was able to ice the game as he dove safely under the glove of of Leon Guerrero, who was covering the plate. 

“The game’s not over until the blue says ‘ball game’!’”

– Southern captain Marko Parks
(Centered LR) Marko Parks and Jayden Duenas stole the winning runs for the Dolphins to advance to the HS Baseball Championship game.

Notre Dame jumped out to an early lead, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. After a short bunt by Elijah Asuncion brought in his teammate, Asuncion was able to turn it into a three-bagger after the throw to first sailed over the first baseman’s head. Royal Ean Lizama was able to bring in Asuncion with a hit that landed perfectly in a weak spot in Southern’s defense. The Dolphins were unable to answer, as ND quickly sent the first three batters in the Dolphins line up back to their dugout. 

Despite their quick scoring in the first inning, the Royals were unable to produce offensively for the next four innings. Meanwhile, Southern, who struggled to secure a base hit early, found their momentum after a blast by Trever Chaco flew just barely over the short stop’s glove, putting an end to Leon Guerrero’s no-hitter after four. By the end of the fourth inning, Notre Dame still held on to a 2-0 lead. 

ND put an end to their offensive drought in the fifth after hits by Leon Guerrero and Kyle Yoon each brought one run in to give them a 4-0 lead. The Royals capitalized on that momentum, as Leon Guerrero clocked in three strikeouts, denying the Dolphins a chance to respond. 

Southern finally got to Leon Guerrero in the fifth. With two runners on base, Gregory Sablan hit the ball just out of reach of the second baseman, securing the single, but also allowing his teammates to close the lead to 4-2. 

In the seventh inning, the Dolphins tightened up their defense and converted three straight outs to send the Royals back out to the field and give themselves an opportunity to win the game.

Dolphins Rally

After Southern’s Travis Quinata managed to get on base, he made his way to a scoring position after stealing second and being balked to third. ND’s Leon Guerrero would strikeout the next two batters, collecting a total of 12 strikeouts on the night, and putting the Royals one out away from a victory. 

With two outs, Southern’s Jayden Duenas walked and later stole second, some confusion with the fielders allowed Quinata to steal home, putting Southern one run away from tying the game. After the error, Notre Dame elected to intentionally walk Marko Parks, so that any hit fielded could be thrown to the nearest base for the last out.

With the game on the line and two runners on base, Southern trotted out designated hitter Dylan Rodeo. Rodeo sat in the batter’s box, but Southern Coach Chris Fejeran gave Duenas the signal to steal home. 

Duenas took off early, but the pitch from Leon Guerrero was wild and went past the catcher. Duenas was able to securely slide home. Meanwhile, Parks rounded third and dove head first under the glove of Leon Guerrero and was called safe by the umpire, securing the walk-off steal. 

All-or-Nothing

“It was all-or-nothing,” Coach Fejeran said. “Two outs, two strikes, bottom 7. I saw the pitcher was lagging at a full windup and Jayden had speed to get in quick. I wanted to at least get the tying run in.” The gutsy call got the tying and winning runs in. Ball Game!

With this victory, the Dolphins secured their trip to the championship game. Even with their exciting win over last year’s runner up, Southern High remains focused on what’s ahead. 

“[We’re just going to] Keep playing hard, and keep playing the way we play. We made it this far. Let’s go for it all” said Parks. 

“[We need to] fix our errors. We could always do better,” said Duenas. 

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COMING SOON …

Guam Track & Field National Championship May 26

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro

QUICK HITS

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Congratulations @seadancer_bailey
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The St. Paul Warriors are the 2024 IIAAG Boys Middle School Basketball League Champions! The Warriors defeated the 2nd seed Andersen Dragons 60-47 to cap off their undefeated season.
Mario Bork led the Warriors with 20 points in the championship game.

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