The Braves punched the last ticket to the finals of the 2nd Annual DYS/Triple A Youth Baseball League after eliminating the Dodgers, 8-6, in a playoff game last Tuesday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
The Braves will be challenging the pennant champions Padres in a winner-take-all finale that will be played this weekend, weather permitting.
Z.E. Lifoifoi helped the Braves avoid the upset axe of the Dodgers, who took the final playoff berth after beating the Tigers and the Yankees in the tiebreak and stunning the Giants in the first round of the playoffs. He closed out for the Braves, pitching 1.2 innings and allowing no hit to foil the Dodgers’ comeback bid.
The Braves ace pitcher came in for Kody Kaipat at the top of the sixth inning after the Dodgers were threatening a comeback, scoring three runs to move within one, 6-7, with only one out and runners on first and second base. Lifoifoi then got the second out, striking out Brian Camacho, while first baseman Ian Rogolifoi caught a fly ball from Jonathan Cabrera for the third out, stranding Dodgers runners at third and second.
Ahead by only one, catcher and leadoff batter Frankie Lieto gave the Braves more breathing room, 8-6, when we walked and made it all the way home off the Dodgers’ successive errors at the bottom of the sixth. The Braves’ next three batters were beaten to first and struck out, keeping the Dodgers’ finals bid alive.
Nathan Camacho led off for the Dodgers at the top of the last inning and flied out. Lifoifoi then moved the Braves one out away from the finals when he picked up a grounder from Steven Cabrera and threw to Rogolifoi for the second out. Rogolifoi then caught A.J. Evangelista’s throw from second base and tagged Cedric Camacho out to hand the Braves the second and last finals seat.
Besides playing steady defense at first base, Rogolifoi also contributed on offense for the Braves. His two-run single at the bottom of the fifth inning gave his team more cushion, as they turned a shaky 4-3 advantage to a 7-3 lead. The Braves’ other run in the fifth inning was courtesy of Peter Lieto’s RBI single, while three of the squad’s four early runs were recorded off the Dodgers’ miscues.
The Braves got two runs off the Dodgers’ mistakes at the bottom of the third inning to break the deadlock, 4-2. Jerald Cabrera scored the Dodgers’ first run at the top of the first off a Jonathan Cabrera single, while Cedric Camacho made the second off Frankie Lieto’s error in the second inning. The Braves also lit up the board in the first inning off Evangelista’s stolen base, while Frankie Lieto scored in the second off Jonathan Cabrera’s booboo.
A Craig Aguon RBI single at the top of the fourth cut the deficit to one, 3-4, and the Braves failed to answer at the bottom before Rogolifoi and Peter Lieto hit their targets in the fifth and gave the team more distance.