The Talofofo Rangers rallied late on offense and pitcher TJ Perez had 13 strikeouts to help lead a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Chalan Pago Amigos in the Guam Amateur Baseball League season opener Friday evening at LeoPalace Resort Baseball Stadium in Yona.
Chalan Pago claimed an early advantage, leading Talofofo 6-3 after five innings, before the Rangers erupted for four runs in the sixth inning to stun the Amigos. The big blow was a missile off the bat of Conan Dela Cruz that short hopped the wall in left field for a two-out, two-RBI double to hand the Rangers the 7-6 lead.
Perez was effectively wild on the bump for the Rangers, striking out the side in the first and fifth innings on the way to fanning 13 in seven innings. The former Father Duenas Memorial School baseball standout also scattered five hits and issued six free passes to the Amigos in the complete game win.
“I felt good … the offense picked me up at the end,” Perez told The Guam Daily Post. “Good to open with a win.”
Chalan Pago starter Curtis Panaguiton was exceptional through five innings before running into trouble in the sixth inning. The righty threw 5-2/3 innings in which he struck out three, walked two and allowed 10 hits.
Chalan Pago’s Bruce San Nicolas scored the first run of the season, leading off the bottom of the first inning with a walk before coming around to score on a Rangers’ error and wild pitch.
A two-RBI single by Edwin Carlos in the bottom of the second inning gave the Amigos their third unanswered run of the game.
The Talofofo bats finally woke up in the top of the third inning, pounding out five consecutive hits, but only managing two runs. Corey Duenas and Cole Chaco chipped in with RBI hits. The Amigos squashed the rally with a nice throw by shortstop Reed Seman to cut down a runner at the plate.
Chalan Pago tacked on two additional runs in the bottom of the third inning with a sacrifice fly by Seman to score Ray Leon Guerrero. A wild pitch by Perez scored Alan Quintanilla, who reached on a double.
The Amigos and Rangers traded runs in the fifth inning to give the Amigos a three-run cushion before the Rangers would rally in the sixth.
Jassen Guerrero and Chaco got things started with RBI singles to cut the deficit to 6-5. With two outs, Dela Cruz smacked the first pitch he saw from Panaguiton over the left fielder to drive in Guerrero and Chaco for the game-winning RBI.
“Good to come back and get the win,” said Talofofo Rangers manager Kagan Rabago. “The boys didn’t back down … TJ pitched good, and the offense was solid at the end.”
Chaco, Guerrero and Fernando Rabago each collected two hits for the Rangers. Chaco added two RBIs.
Quintanilla was 2 for 4 with a double and two runs scored in the loss for the Amigos.
In other action, the Cubs knocked off the Agat Cardinals 10-4 on Saturday afternoon. Laurenz Perez went two innings in relief for the win, and TJ Terlaje pitched 2-1/3 scoreless innings to notch the save. Terlaje was also 2 for 4 at the plate with an RBI.
In the Saturday nightcap, the MTM Falcons opened the season with a 9-3 victory over the Brewers. Gavin Salas had four strikeouts in two innings out of the bullpen for the win. Ken Laitan was 2 for 2 with a run and two RBIs for the Falcons.