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MVP Banditos Rally To Victory For June B 18U Championship

The 2017 HSBN Boys of Summer June B 18U champion MVP Banditos.

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Big players show up in big moments. On Saturday afternoon in the HSBN boys of Summer June B 18U championship game, senior Eric Verdera played the hero’s role to lead the MVP Banditos to a comeback victory over the Bull Sharks. After brushing off the cobwebs to deliver two innings on the mound to earn the win in his first pitching action in years, Verdera capped off his day by scoring the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

After Anthony Gutierrez walked with one out, Verdera followed with a double that put the winning run ninety feet away. Walks to Michael Cabo and Armando Sierra loaded the bases, before the Bull Sharks recorded the second out on a fielder’s choice at the plate. But when the ball got away from the plate on a pitch to Eric Delgado, Verdera raced home and sparked the championship celebration with the 5-4, walk-off victory.

Both sides also earned a berth into the HSBN Boys of Summer Champions Tournament at the end of July.

The Banditos (3-0) rallied to take their first lead with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ricky Del Rio got things started when he split the right-center field gap for a lead-off triple, before scoring on an RBI from Armani Davis. Anthony Gutierrez singled to right to keep things going and Verdera followed with a single past the shortstop. Armando Sierra advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt and two runs then came in when Eric Delgado reached on an error.

Ismael Astacio delivered a quality start for the Bull Sharks, striking out five in four innings.

Delgado also doubled to left-center and then scored on an RBI single from Ryan Martinez to get MVP on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth.

The Bull Sharks (2-1) took control early on to go in front with a 3-0 advantage through three innings of play. Fabian Ortega lined a lead-off single into left field in the second, before later scoring on an error. In the third, Michael Gayo reached on an error and advanced when Hernando Alvarez followed with a bunt single. Both runners then scored as Chris Fernandez also reached on an error.

After stranding runners in each of the next two innings, the Bull Sharks battled back to tie things up with a run in the sixth. Ortega was hit by pitch and Gabriel Martinez and Austin Capote both walked to load the bases. Richard Rodriguez then lifted a fly ball to left field for a sac-fly RBI that made it a 4-4 ball game.

Each team received a quality outing from its starter. Bull Sharks starter Ismael Astacio allowed one run on four hits and a walk in four innings. The right-hander struck out five and also hit a batter. Meanwhile, Banditos starter Armando Sierra surrendered three unearned runs on four hits over four innings. Sierra did not walk any batters and also recorded five strikeouts.

The Bull Sharks celebrate after tying the game up in the top of the sixth inning.

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