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Glen Fernandez walk off two-RBI double ends game
IN A packed house at the Paseo Stadium, the 2012 Budweiser Baseball League championship series boiled down to one last game.
Last night, the defending champion Moylan’s-O.D.C. Braves and Atkins Kroll Islanders went head-to-head in a “win or go home” game seven. While the Islanders looked to clinch their first title in several years, the Braves were searching for their fourth straight championship. Both teams came out and laid everything on the line. However, in the end, only one could be crowned kings of the diamond. At the end of nine exciting innings of play, the Braves have set their place in history by clinching yet another title after picking up the 4-3 victory.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, the Braves trailed 3-2 and needed to mount a comeback. With no outs and runners at the corners, pinch-hitter Glen Fernandez drove the first pitch deep into left-centerfield that hit the top of the wall and allowed Dale Alvarez and John Salas to score and end the game in dramatic fashion.
If the opening inning was any indication of what the game was going to be like, fans in attendance were sure to get their money’s worth. Moylan’s-O.D.C. starting pitcher Tony Yatar began his bid on the mound immediately forcing the AK side to retire in order. However, in the bottom half of the inning, Islanders starter John Pangelinan answered back by duplicating the feat and picking up two strikeouts.
Atkins Kroll was first to post a run on the scoreboard in their half of the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. With the bases loaded, the Islanders’ Keith Hattig found his way to home plate after a throwing error by the Braves. The defending champions managed to get out of the inning without further damage. Pangelinan remained hot from the mound as he gave up only one hit in the second and third innings combined.
Early in the top of the fourth, the Braves ran into some trouble as back-to-back errors allowed for J.D. San Nicolas and Rafael Chavez to take first and second base, respectively. Moments later, the Islanders increased their lead to 2-0 after a John Quintanilla hit drove in San Nicolas. The Braves looked poised to end their drought in the bottom half of the inning as JT Tuquero and Rico Castro got things started with back-to-back singles. However, Pangelinan and the rest of the Islanders settled defensively and were able to get out of the inning leaving three runners stranded.
Later in the sixth inning, Atkins Kroll continued to work in small bits and built a three-run (3-0) lead. With a runner in scoring position, pinch-hitter Pete “Pikachu” Guerrero nailed a shot right over shortstop for the RBI-single. Things got interesting in the bottom half of the inning as the defending champions finally put runs on the board and trimmed their deficit down to 3-2. After singles by Castro and Jared Palomo put runners on base, the Braves’ Brent Blau took a Pangelinan pitch to centerfield that scored their first run. Before the Islanders could get out of the long inning, an RBI by Tony Doyle made it a one-run ballgame.
Both teams reverted back to playing excellent defense in the seventh and eighth inning as each held the other hitless.
"It feels great to have my number called and just step up and get the job done," said Glen Fernandez. "It was a hard-fought series and AK made us work hard, but we stayed confident and the end result was championship number four."