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Lightning Win In Extras For Winter Classic 18U Title

The HSBN 2017 Winter Classic 18U Champion Lightning.

Championship Photo Gallery

The final baseball action before the holiday break proved to be a championship for the ages Sunday afternoon, as the Lightning held on for a 4-3 victory over the Pines Panthers in eight innings to win the 18U title. Carlos Salaverria scored on an RBI single from Andrew Boorom to put the Lightning back ahead in the eighth and Jorge Julio Jr. battled through a bases-loaded situation to preserve the win.

Salaverria was a perfect 4-for-4 on the day, including a two-RBI single as part of a three-run first inning that put the Lightning (4-0) up right away. Elliot Rodriguez and Jake Pfundstein both walked to start the contest, and Julio Jr. followed with an RBI double that got his team on the scoreboard. Salaverria then came through with a liner to right field that plated two more runners.

The Panthers (3-1) buckled down and held them scoreless for the next six frames, as reliever Jake Vazquez struck out six in three scoreless innings and Moronta followed by fanning five in three-and-two-third innings.

The HSBN 2017 Winter Classic 18U Runner-Up Pines Panthers.

The pitching allowed the Panther offense plenty of opportunity to battle back. Pines ended the shutout with a pair of runs in the third, after Michael Laguardia reached on a bunt single, Max Baldaccini and Xavier Moronta both walked to load the bases and Bryan Loriga singled to center field to drive in a pair. Laguardia then got things going to tally the tying run after he led off the seventh with a double to right-center field, later crossing the plate following an error.

The late rally removed Lightning starter Ben Pelman from factoring in the decision, though his performance was not to be overlooked. The right-hander went six strong innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and three walks while striking out five.

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