McDonald’s dethroned the Kagman Little Legals following a 16-4 triumph in the Majors division finals in the 2019 Saipan Little League Baseball last Sunday at the Capitol Hill Ballfield.
A nine-run top of the third inning helped No. 3 seed McDonald’s upset No. 1 and 2018 champions Little Legals in the winner-take-all finale.
McDonald’s was just ahead by 2 after two complete innings, 5-3, before it broke away in the pivotal third to deny the Little Legals back-to-back championships.
M.J. Tudela scored two runs at the top of the third and his second at bat in the same inning brought home two runners. Peter Tomokane also delivered two runs and had a single and triple in his two trips at the plate. Dylan Delos Santos, Ezra Ada, and Isaiah Mesa contributed one run apiece with the first two also making RBI single each and the latter hitting an RBI double. Joey Dela Cruz and Casey Chambers were the other McDonald’s players who reached home in the crucial top of the third inning, giving their team a 14-3 lead.
McDonald’s went on to keep the double-digit spread, 14-4, as the Little Legals countered with only one run at the bottom of the third with Greg Perez’s single driving in Albert Adriano. McDonald’s then pulled away further at the top of the fourth after Joey Dela Cruz’s RBI single and Ada’s run, leaving the Little Legals’ chance for a title defense in limbo.
Mesa, who pitched in no relief for McDonald’s, went on to bury the Little Legals as he struck out the latter’s first three batters at the bottom of the fourth inning and lifted his squad to the early title win via 10-run mercy rule.
The McDonald’s pitching ace finished his impressive game in the finale with 10 strikeouts after throwing a three-hitter. He also forced the Little Legals to a quick 1-2-3 in the second inning after fanning out Santiago Seman, Jess Norita, and Franklin Delos Santos.
On offense, Mesa was 3-for-3 at bat and contributed two runs and three RBIs. Tudela also had three RBIs off his 2-for-2 performance at the plate and made three runs, while Dela Cruz, Chambers, Santos, and Ada added two runs apiece.
Dela Cruz, Chambers, Mesa, Tudela, and Tomokane reached at the top of the first inning to give McDonald’s early control of the match. Albert Adriano, who did not pitch for McDonald’s after reaching the limit in their semis game and instead played at shortstop, hit a double that drove in Santos at the bottom of the first and he later scored off Austin Diaz’s double. Pinch runner Brandon Babauta recorded the other run for the Little Legals in the first inning.
The Little Legals returned to the finals after downing No. 4 seed Falcons in the semifinals last Saturday, while McDonald’s advanced as it stunned No. 2 Comets in the other Final Four pairing. The Comets settled for the third place honors after outclassing the Falcons in the consolation match last Sunday, 10-8.