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FRIARS SECURE BACK-TO-BACK BASEBALL TITLES

FD holds off late Southern comeback in championship game

By Nick Akimoto

Pressure forms diamonds. The same can be said for champions. 

When pressure formed on the windy Okkodo baseball field, the Friars locked in. The Father Duenas Friars survived against a tenacious Southern High Dolphins squad to secure a 12-8 victory and the championship trophy. With the win, the FD caps off their undefeated season and successfully repeat as ISA High School Baseball League champions. 

“We couldn’t have done it individually. We were all by each other’s side. No one’s above and no one’s below,” said FD’s Senior first baseman Franklin Ninete, Jr. 

FD seniors (LR) Franklin Ninete, Jr, Zach Muna and Andrew Perez pose with their championship trophy. The are the only seniors on a loaded Friars team. (photo by Cam Santos)

The Friars opened the game by showcasing the dominance that helped them procure their perfect season. Ninete, Jr., Andrew Perez, Vance Meno, Ayden Aguon, Daethan Alcantara and Luke Perez would all get big hits to help the Friars jump out to an 8-0 lead by the end of the third inning. 

Despite being down by such a huge margin, the Dolphins, who are very familiar with being the underdogs, refused to give in. After getting on base, Traven Pangelinan stole his way all the way to third, putting him in perfect position to score after a hit by Jayden Duenas made its way past the first and second baseman. Pangelinan’s score would spark an 8-run scoring spree and bring Dolphins within one run of tying the game. 

“We had to accept the mistakes we made. We had to stop the bleeding,” said Ninete Jr, who hit for FD’s lone run in the midst of Southern’s scoring frenzy. 

The Friars were going into the sixth inning in an uncharacteristic hitting slump and having given up the most runs allowed in a game all season. Despite being in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable situation, freshman pitcher Gerson Hoebing, Jr. was unshaken. 

FD freshman pitcher Gerson Hoebing, Jr. struck out nine in the championship game. (photo by Cam Santos)

“I wasn’t surprised when they started hitting the ball because I know their capabilities, and I know they’re super good, …[but] we knew how to get out of that bleeding situation. All we do is we just bounce back and do what we practice.”

– FD freshman sensation Gerson Hoebing, Jr.

FD cooled off the Dolphins by catching a high flyout in center field, getting the base out at first off of the bunt, sending their third batter back with a strikeout to quickly get them off the field. In their next at-bat, Ayden Aguon and Ninete Jr. would put themselves in scoring position and Koley Taitague would convert on the opportunity by bringing in Aguon. Vance Meno would follow up with a blast past shortstop that would bring in Ninete Jr. and Taitague, giving FD a 12-8 lead. 

In Southern’s last at bat, the Friars were determined to put the game away. Hoebing struck out the first batter, giving him nine total strikeouts on the night. After walking the next batter, Ninete Jr. fielded the ball and tagged the runner to get FD their next out. Kaiden Weakley would be the one to catch the high infield popup for the final out and secure FD’s championship victory.

“My adrenaline is still rushing, but that’s one in the books. We’ll get back to work and then we’ll come back next year even stronger,” promised Co-MVP Gerson Hoebing Jr. 

“You work hard in practice. You come to the game, that’s your pay day. It’s the amount of work these guys put into practice. The work ethic there is unreal,” commented FD’s head coach Gerson Hoebing.

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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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Mario Bork led the Warriors with 20 points in the championship game.

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