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THREE days of action around the diamond came to a close this past weekend in the 2012 Governor’s Youth Athletics Invitational Tournament.
At the Paseo Stadium, the Yona Red Hawks took on the visiting Zobel de LaSalle Green Archers of the Philippines in the 13- to-14-year-old division. After an intense six innings of play the Red Hawks did Guam well as they defeated their opponents 12-9 to claim the championship.
Despite being able to get the first two outs quickly in the opening inning, the Green Archers weren’t able to put themselves on offense as the Red Hawks found a way to post points on the board. Yona’s Cooper Paulino garnered the game’s first hit after a hit to centerfield. On the ensuing at-bat, Isaiah Nauta hit into a fielder’s choice that eventually scored Paulino to give his team a 1-0 lead. Before the Green Archers could end the inning, the Red Hawks upped their lead to 3-0 after Nauta and teammate Reed Seman made their way across home plate.
The Green Archers had some difficulty in the bottom half of the first inning finding rhythm offensively, while the Red Hawks played excellent defense. Yona ended the de LaSalle offense allowing four batters to the plate while holding the team hitless. In the top of the second inning, the Red Hawks added another run after Kyle Quichocho scored on a wild pitch by the Green Archers.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Green Archers lit up their sticks and came out producing six unanswered runs to take their first lead of the game. With two runners in scoring position, Miguel Ofalia tagged a Nauta pitch into the outfield gaps to drive in two runs and make it a 4-2 game. Zobel de La Salle wasn’t done offensively as they tallied four hits and four runs to include a two-RBI single by Angelo Tantuico.
Yona didn’t deter from the game plan despite losing their lead. In the top half of the third, the Red Hawks equalized the game after scoring two runs. Stephon Murdock was credited with an RBI-single that drove in teammate Gavin Salas. The see-saw battle between both teams continued as the Green Archers took advantage of several Red Hawks errors to score three runs and regain a 9-6 lead.
With already half the game in the books, the Red Hawks knew that they needed to produce some offense against a very formidable opponent. In the top of the fourth and fifth innings, Yona scored a combined three runs to knot the game for a third time. Paulino and Seman’s one RBI apiece led the mini-surge.
Heading into the sixth and final inning, both teams knew what was at stake and immediately went to work. The Red Hawks started the top half of the inning with Travis Concepcion and Seman putting two runners on base after picking up walks. On the very next play, Salas ripped a shot out of the infield to drive in two runs making it an 11-9 game. Before the Green Archers could end the inning, Murdock hit an RBI-double to make it a three-run ballgame. In the bottom of the sixth, the Green Archers looked to get the offense going. However, the Red Hawks tasted championship and retired the Zobel de La Salle side in order to end the game and clinch the title.