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HomeNewsArchivesWin Earns St. Croix All Stars a Spot in Regional Tournament

Win Earns St. Croix All Stars a Spot in Regional Tournament

June 4, 2007 — The St. Croix Elmo Plaskett 17-18 Big League all stars won a slugfest Sunday to earn the right to represent the territory in the upcoming Latin American Regional Big League Baseball Tournament.
St. Croix beat the St. Thomas Elrod Hendricks/Alvin McBean Big League all stars 14-11 at the D.C. Canegata Ball Park. They will move on to the regional tourney in July.
The Crucians, who found themselves down 4-0 after just half an inning, used a big eight-run fourth inning to pull out the win.
The teams came to Sunday’s game after splitting the first two games of the best-of-three series. St. Croix took the opener 8-2 behind strong pitching from Ivor James on Friday. Then St. Thomas responded Saturday with a dramatic come-from-behind, extra-inning victory, winning 11-8 to extend the series to Sunday’s bullet game.
Batting first on Sunday, the St. Thomas Squad started fast, plating four runs in the top of the first on a two-run home run off the bat of Kellen St. Luce and RBI singles by Causten Merchant and Jelani Blash. St. Croix answered with three runs in their half of the inning on an RBI single by Charles Bollings and two unearned runs to trail 4-3 at the end of one.
The score would remain unchanged until the bottom of the third, when Bollings drilled a solo shot high over the right-field fence to knot the game at four after three complete innings.
A two-run single by Dion Pickering gave the lead back to St. Thomas at 6-4 in the top of the fourth, but St. Croix batted around, erupting for nine runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 13-6 lead. They would never trail again. They scored nine runs on bases-loaded walks drawn by Roberto Soto, Mark Franklin, Bollings and Brandon Biggs; a two-run double by Odingo Davila; an RBI single by Franklin; a sacrifice fly by Omari Eastman; and an error by the St. Thomas shortstop.
After a scoreless fifth, St. Croix scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the sixth on an error to lead 14-6 at the end of six innings.
St. Croix was sitting pretty as the teams entered the final inning of the seven-inning contest. But the Thomians refused to go quietly, creating some anxious moments for the home crowd as they plated five runs. They got within three at 14-11 before Bolling came on in relief to put a stop to the rally and seal the deal for his squad. St. Thomas scored five runs on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Pickering, RBI singles by Dutterin Culpepper and Merchant and two unearned runs.
Bolling, who had also pitched earlier in the contest before getting relieved because of wildness, pulled off a rare feat: He earned the win because of his earlier efforts, then came back at the end to record the save, leaving the bases loaded with Thomians.
Pickering got the loss for St. Thomas. Top hitters for St. Croix were Bollings, 2 for 2 with a home run and three RBIs; Franklin, 1 for 2 with one RBI; and Davila, 1 for 2 with two RBIs. For St. Thomas, Merchant was 2 for 3 with two RBIs, St. Luce 1 for 2 with a home run and two RBIs and Pickering 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
The tournament showcased some of the best young baseball talents in the territory, but there were some who stood a little bit above the rest. Kellen St. Luce, the hard-throwing lefty from St. Thomas, has a full scholarship to play ball at the number-one ranked school in college baseball, Vanderbilt University of Tennessee. He has an excellent arm, but showed that he also knows how to handle his bat by going deep twice in the tournament. Both home runs cleared well over 400 feet in straightaway center field.
Also from St. Thomas, center fielder Jelani Blash showed off some great defensive skills and awesome power with the bat. He also went deep in the tournament, hitting a dramatic three-run shot in the extra innings Saturday that proved to be the game winner. Also, Leshawn Letsome, the St. Thomas shortstop, has a good bat and great hands in the field.
From St. Croix, Mark Franklin, the slick-fielding two-sport star shortstop, also hit a home run in the tournament. Charles Bolling, arguably one of the best young catchers in the territory, has a rifle arm and good bat. He also went deep.
Ivor James, another two-sport star who pitched the opening win for the St. Croix squad, is also a solid young talent, with a good fastball and nasty curve. He could go a long way in both baseball and basketball.
Several others deserve mention, including Omari Eastman, Dion Pickering, Caustant Merchant and Odingo Davila, because they are almost on equal footing with the six mentioned above.
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