The Ol’Aces clinched the championship in the 2011 SML Youth Baseball Summer/Fall League after slipping past Titanium in the winner-take-all finale, 3-2, last Saturday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
Left fielder Frankie Camacho went 0-for-3 in his first three at bats, but bounced back from his lackluster performance at the plate, making the game-winning hit at the bottom of the seventh and last inning.
The bottom of the seventh started in a deadlock, 2-all, as Titanium had a quick 1-2-3 at the bottom with Palmerson Monkeya and Ton Guerrero flying out and Jerold Camacho having beaten at first base.
With Titanium failing to score, all the Ol’Aces needed was one run to wrap up the close match. Jake Sablan led off for the Ol’Aces at the bottom of the seventh and had a walk. Steven Cabrera, who relieved Brian Camacho on the mound at the bottom of the fifth, continued to struggle in the last inning. After walking Sablan, he committed back-to-back hit by pitch, bringing T.J. Sablan, who pinched run for Jake Sablan, to second and Diego Camacho to first.
Then with runners on first and second, Frankie Camacho stepped up to the plate and swung on Cabrera’s first pitch. The Ol’Aces left fielder hit his target with the ball landing at deep center field. Two Titanium outfielders chased the ball, while T.J. Sablan sprinted and scored the winning run in style, sliding to home plate first before catcher Palmerson Monkeya received the ball from center field.
The lone championship match was Titanium’s second game of the day, as it also played in the last semis tiff three hours earlier and won over the Fielders 2, 10-7. The Ol’Aces took the first finals berth after also downing Fielders in the first semis pairing, 14-2.
At the start of the finals, Titanium picked up where it left off, scoring two early runs at the top of the first inning. Lead off batter Ton Guerrero singled, stole bases, and reached home off Jerald Camacho’s sacrifice fly. Third batter Brian Camacho made Titanium’s other run in the first inning off a wild pitch from A.J. Lizama.
Titanium went on to keep the lead after three and a half innings before the Ol’Aces finally broke into the scoreboard at the bottom of the fourth. Harry Nakamura and Keoni Lizama made it home for the Ol’Aces off Roco Reyes’double to tie the match.
Both teams failed to score in the fifth inning to keep the game even. Then at the top of the sixth inning, Titanium had a big chance of breaking the deadlock when it loaded the bases, but could not complete the plays. Joseph Atalig was the sixth batter and was called for a full count with two outs. Nakamura, who relieved Lizama in the third inning, delivered another pitch and was awarded his third strike for the third out.
Meanwhile, a perpetual trophy was given to the Ol’Aces during a brief ceremony after the game. The Sen. Luis P. Crisostimo-sponsored Ol’Aces are managed by Tony Flores and coached by Walter Macaranas.