The Virgin Islands 45 Plus Hurricanes baseball team opened its 2013 Men’s Senior Baseball League championship run by sweeping both ends of a double-header on Monday in Mesa, Arizona. The Virgin Islands’ Geritol posse, who hails from all across the territory, got good pitching efforts from starters Cruz Soto Jr. in game one and Gilberto “Jun” Belardo in game two as they beat the Rockies and Mets, 8-6 and 18-2 respectively.
Game one: Canes 8, Rockies 6
Soto scattered three hits over seven innings and struck out eight before turning the game over to his bullpen to start the eighth inning leading 6-0. Soto was relieved by Kenny Smith, who did not have his best stuff on Monday, and the Rockies were able to rally and knot the game at six in the top of eighth inning. Kai Schjang then came on in relief of Smith to get the final two outs of the inning.
The Canes then plated two more runs in the bottom of the eighth to retake the lead at 8-6.
Schjang then struck out two in the top of the ninth on his way to closing the door on the Rockies while picking up the win in relief.
The Canes finished with eight runs on 17 hits. Top batters for the Canes were Enrique Soto (4 for 5), Frank Thomas (3 for 3 with two RBIs), Christian Harley 2 for 4 with three RBIs), and Tony Cruz was 2 for 3 with a HR and two RBIs.
Game two: Canes 18, Mets 2
Belardo went the distance in pitching the Hurricanes to a dominating 18-2 victory over the Mets in game two. After allowing two runs in the bottom of the second inning, Belardo was able to keep the Mets off balance the rest of the way with his assortment of off speed pitches with a fastball mixed in now and again.
His offense exploded for 18 runs on 19 hits led by Frank Thomas who was 5-5 with three RBIs. Steve Parrish was 5 for 5, Elroy Hill was 2 for 5 with three RBIs, Christian Harley was 2 for 5 with three RBIs, and Raymond Cintron was 1 for 2 with three RBIs.