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Patriots, Paladins Advance To Fall Classic 18U Championship

Argelio Morejon delivered a quality start for the Paladins, allowing three earned runs in four-and-a-third innings of work.

18U Semfinals Photo Gallery

A new champion is set to be crowned in the seventh annual HSBN Fall Classic, after the Broward Patriots and the Paladins both advanced to Sunday’s title game for the first time with semifinal victories on Saturday. The Patriots defeated the Dragons 10-0 in Saturday’s matinee action, and the Paladins prevailed 5-4 over The Dawgs in the later contest. The two clubs will battle for the 18U crown Sunday afternoon at Len Koch Field in Hollywood, following the 16U championship between the Pines Panthers and the Davie Wildcats.

The Paladins (5-2) scored the deciding run in the top of the sixth inning, after The Dawgs had rallied to tie the game at 4-4. Brandon Fogel singled to center and scored after Kumar Lilman reached on an error. They jumped out in front in the top of the first when Brandon Holifield singled to center and advanced around the bases to finally score on an RBI from Blake Butler. Austin Koelher walked and scored on a throwing error and Juan Gomez and Julian Beckett both reached base and scored the following inning to give the Paladins a 4-0 lead.

The Dawgs (5-2) scrapped away to eventually tie things back up. Sal Zaremba singled to first and scored on an RBI single from Makai Simons, who later came in on a passed ball to cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the second. Aris Gomez got things going again with a lead-off single in the fifth, and Kevin Laguardia moved him over with a sacrifice bunt before Matt Silva and Ryan Nunez both walked to load the bases. Josh Kirouac and Max Odze then both worked RBI walks to tie it up.

Jacob La Roque gave The Dawgs an excellent relief performance, allowing three unearned runs in six-and-third innings with four hits,s four walks and two strikeouts.

The Patriots (6-0) received a strong start from Alex Rodriguez to lead the way to the shutout victory. The right-hander earned the win with four solid innings, allowing a hit and two walks while striking out eight. Eduardo Mestre pitched a scoreless fifth inning to close it out.

Hunter D’Amato put the Patriots ahead right away by walking and later scoring on a passed ball in the bottom of the first. He also added an RBI single and scored again as part of a six-run fourth inning that put the game away. Nick Lopez had two doubles and two RBIs and Lou Zayas was 2-for-3 on the day. Joey Cicini had a double and two runs, Danny Diaz added a two-RBI singled and a run and Matt Ruiz and Alex Rodriguez both had RBI singles and also scored.

The scrappy Dragons (4-3) had come in with hot bats, but struggled to string much offense together. Jonahys Camero reached base twice with a single in the first and a walk in the fourth that paved the way to loading the bases when Jermaine Shivers was hit by a pitch and Henry Andrade also walked. The Patriots escaped that jam with a strikeout, then turned a double play the following inning to erase Kenny Jenkins, following his lead-off singe to third base. Another infield ground out recorded the final out that ended the game.

Jonahys Camero singled and walked to reach base both plate appearances for the Dragons.

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