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Bucs Hold Off TAP 1-0 To Win 18U Champions Tourney

The HSBN Boys of Summer 2016 18U champion Buccaneers.

18U Championship Gallery

Wednesday night brought the conclusion to another exciting summer baseball season, with the HSBN Boys of Summer 18U championship finale at Len Koch Field. Thanks to outstanding pitching performances from both sides the game lived up to the large billing, as one run in the first inning proved to be the difference for the Buccaneers to win a 1-0 victory over the Top American Prospects.

Going the distance for the complete-game shutout was Bucs left-handed starter Mario Fernandez. The southpaw scattered seven hits while recording eight strikeouts with no walks. With pressure on in the seventh after Mitch Doll, Ryan Taylor and Joey Spano all reached to load the bases, Mario buckled down to record the final two outs to end the game.

Across the field, TAP starter Joey Spano was equally impressive. The left-hander allowed one unearned run and also went the distance, surrendering five hits and two walks. After allowing a run in the first, Spano locked in to keep any more runs from scoring. He piled up 13 strikeouts on the night.

Spano stayed on the hill in the seventh even though the Bucs loaded the bases with no outs to threaten to break things wide open. Instead Spano recorded back-to-back strikeouts and then induced a flyout to center field to end the inning.

Joey Spano struck out 13 and allowed one unearned run in the loss.

Hustle and effort rewarded the Bucs (3-1) in earning the only run of the night. John Urena led off the contest by legging out an infield grounder for the Bucs’ first base runner. Diego Fernandez bounced back to the pitcher to erase Diego on the fielder’s choice, and then advanced to third base thanks to a single to center field off the bat of Brandon Paez. An infield error then allowed Diego to race home for the lone score.

Both sides had chances to score by putting runners on in nearly every frame. But behind the strong pitching was aggressive defense that also rose to the challenge. After Alex Castellanos singled to lead off the fifth, TAP (3-2) responded with a strikeout, followed by a smooth 4-6-3 double play that ended the threat. The Bucs countered with a double play in the sixth on a bunt popout.

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