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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Three in a row for Braves; Fielders nip Padres

The Fielders’ Khobby Kaipat waits for the pitch, while Padres catcher Quinson Blas stands by during the bottom of the third inning of their Big League game at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (Roselyn B. Monroyo) The NSA Braves swept their two games last week in the Senior League division of in the 2014 Saipan Little League Baseball.

The Braves eased past the Lions, 7-1, last Tuesday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield and then dominated the Fielders last Thursday, 10-1, to stretch their winning run to three. The Braves started off the season with a 2-5 loss to defending champions Padres during the league opener last month before drilling an 11-2 victory over the Lions early this month.

Ricky Joe Renguul towed the Braves to their second win over the Lions after allowing only five hits and one run. The Lions got their lone run in the match at the bottom of the fifth Brandon Dela Cruz reaching home off Renguul’s wild pitch. Renguul, who had 13 strikeouts in their first outing with the Lions, more than made up for that wild pitch, as he struck out nine batters in a no-relief job.

While Renguul took care of business on the mound, Lucio Kalen and Frankie Lieto were in charge at the plate. Kalen scored three runs and went 3-for-4 at the plate. Lieto had two RBIs on a 2-for-4 performance at bat and added one run.

The Braves scored in the first four innings and never gave the Lions a chance to recover after that.

Last year’s runners-up also worked on offense early in their match versus the Fielders last Thursday. They bagged three earned runs at the top of the fifth inning off Jeremy Atalig, Frankie Norita, and Haini Blas’ RBI singles and two apiece in the next two innings and in the last. The two runs in the second came off a sacrifice fly and error at second base, while Lieto blasted a two-run double in the third, and the two remaining runs were courtesy off a miscue at third base and Jun Rabauliman’s RBI single.

The Fielders’ only run was registered in the first inning with leadoff batter Jose Lizama scoring off Rabauliman’s booboo. After Lizama’s run, the Fielders were called for three quick outs with Adolpho Roppul getting two of them off strikeouts. Roppul pitched four innings gave up only two hits and added three more strikeouts before Lieto relieved him and closed out for the Braves.

Fielders 4, Padres 3

Meanwhile, the Fielders entered the win column on Feb. 6 after pulling off an upset over the Padres.

Centerfielder Cody Kaipat delivered the go-ahead run when he reached home off an RBI walk from Khobby Kaipat. The Fielders loaded the bases at the bottom of the sixth inning with Lancaster Secharmidal pitching for the Padres, who then got out of trouble with a double play, followed by a fly out to remain in contention, going into the top of the last inning.

Jordan Taitano led off for the Padres and advanced off a Fielders’ error at third base, but was left stranded as the latter got the three quick outs. Jose Lizama, who pitched in no-relief, struck out two batters, while the other out was made off a 4-3 putout play.

It was a sorry loss for the Padres, who managed to get back into the game despite falling behind, 0-3, after five complete innings. The Padres trailed, as the Fielders nailed two runs in the first inning off an RBI walk and a passed ball and added one more in the third off a fielder’s choice. Second baseman Ray Tenorio then sparked the defending champions’ comeback attempt at the top of the sixth when he hit a two-run single and the match was back to square one when T.J. Sablan scored off a Fielders miscue at second base.

The Padres had a chance to steal the lead with runners on second and third and with only one out, but the Fielders foiled the bid with a double play. Tenorio was tagged out by Fielders shortstop Devin Ada, who then threw to first for the third out.

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