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Phillies force second game to decide District 67 title

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Pirates' third baseman Kyle Rachels looks in for the call after Phillies base runner Jamille Grady slides in safely Saturday during the Phillies' win.


POSTED June 27, 2010 2:59 a.m.
TRACY – It was evident from the beginning of the game that the Spreckels Park Phillies had no interest in seeing their season, stopping a District 67 minor Tournament of Champions celebration by beating the Pirates 9-5 Saturday in the first game of the championship series.

The Manteca Pirates needed a victory over the Phillies, the second in three days, to become the champions, yet found themselves in unfamiliar waters when the Phillies pushed across three runs in the top of the second for an early lead.

The Phillies won the pregame coin-flip and decided to try to strike first as the visitors. The plan worked in the top-half of the second, when Jesse Babauta led off the inning with a walk and promptly stole second. A base hit from Cameron Ceja plated the game’s first run and Daniel Aguilar’s RBI single-handed the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

The team would not trail the entire contest.

Babuta was remarkable as the starting pitcher, going to his pitch-limit and holding a potent Pirates lineup silent for four innings. His best inning of work was in the second, when he supported the Phillies 3-0 lead by sitting the Pirates down in order, with two strikeouts.

The Phillies weren’t satisfied, keeping the pressure on with another five-spot in the third. The team still had a pair of runners in scoring position when they scored their fifth run of the inning, bringing on the mercy-rule inning stoppage.

The Phillies were able to string four consecutive hits together in the third; plating each of the first four batters they sent to the box in the third. The Pirates found themselves down 9-0, but refused to give up and wait for another shot.

The Pirates were finally able to get on the board, when Andrew Brunn lined a rocket off third base for a double and Kyle Rachels followed that with an RBI single for their first run. Logan Quan would draw a walk a batter later and drew a throw to second base by rounding first at full speed. Rachels timed the throw perfectly and raced home to cut the Pirates’ uphill climb to 9-2.

The Pirates would add two in the fifth and Alex Gouveia led off the sixth with a base hit and scored on a Ferrin Manuleleua double, but that would be as close as they’d get.

Phillies reliever Jamille Grady handled the rest, closing the door on the Pirates over the final two innings, striking out three and walking a pair.

Grady paced the Phillies, going 3 for 3 with a walk, while teammates Pher Contreras and Mason James both smashed ground rule doubles. Babuta struck out 10 in his four-plus innings of work. Quan and Carlos Gallardo came on for the Pirates to stop the bleeding, holding the Phillies to one hit.

The two clubs will meet at 11 a.m. today to decide the district 67 championship.
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