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Head to championship round
ALREADY up on two games in their best-of-five series, the defending champion Moylan’s-O.D.C. Braves were looking to close out their playoff series against the 76 Cardinals in Budweiser Baseball League action last night at Paseo Stadium.
Using superb defense combined with strong and effective hitting, the Braves tomahawked the Cardinals 12-1 to clinch the victory. With the win, the Braves will head to the championship in hopes of claiming their fourth-straight title.
Both the Braves and Cardinals weren’t able to get anything started in the first inning and the scoreboard reflected “goose eggs.” However, the defending champions didn’t wait any longer as they built a four-run lead in the bottom of the second inning. With the bases loaded, Jathan Muña-Barnes nailed an RBI-single to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. Moments later, B.J. Balajadia and T.J. Sarmiento combined for three more RBIs and increase their lead to 4-0.
The Cardinals tried to get things going offensively in the top half of the third and fourth innings. However, the Braves defense proved too much as the side was retired with only seven batters being plated in both innings combined. The defending champs added another run in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Rico Castro that drove in Balajadia.
In the fifth inning, 76 ran into more trouble as errors proved costly and allowed four Braves runners to cross home plate. With runners on first and second, Barnes hit a long fly ball to right field that was dropped. Using their strength in speed, both runners and Barnes were able to score to make it an 8-0. Before the Cardinals could get out of the inning, a balk by Cardinals pitcher Jesse Alerta brought Balajadia home to up the Braves lead to 9-0.
Moylan’s-O.D.C. continued to hit away in the bottom of the sixth inning as workhorses Barnes and Balajadia combined for three RBIs and two doubles, giving their team a sizeable 12-0 lead. The Cardinals were able to end the inning without any more damage.
Heading into the seventh inning, 76 needed at least three runs to avoid a mercy-rule stoppage. However, despite giving up one run, the defending champions were able to record the last out to end the Cardinals season. With the win, the Braves will make their fourth-straight appearance in the championship match.
J.P. Aguon earned the win for the Braves from the mound, while Jesse Alerta was dealt the loss on the mound.