Phillies RBI program walks off on squeeze bunt

Phillies RBI program walks off on squeeze bunt

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- On the final day of pool play in the 2014 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, Phillies RBI and Marlins RBI matched up with both teams looking for their second win on the weekend.

Marlins RBI split their first two games on Friday, while Phillies RBI came out with one win and a tie in their doubleheader.

Philadelphia was in for another nail-biting contest with both teams squandering opportunities with runners on base. With limited run support provided, the pitching for Miami and Philadelphia delivered throughout, taking a tied ballgame into seventh and final inning. Marlins RBI starter Jonathan Llorca went 6 1/3 innings, but he ran out of gas in the final frame, walking the seventh- and ninth-place hitters in the lineup to set up runners at second and third with one out for leadoff hitter Demetrius Isaac.

Isaac came through on a squeeze bunt that the Marlins' defense knew was coming, but Miami relief pitcher Jose Mendez couldn't field the slow roller, allowing Gilbert Peralta to slide in for the winning run in walk-off fashion, giving Miami the 2-1 victory.

"I felt [the squeeze play] was coming; it was the right situation and I'm pretty good at bunting, so it worked out," said Isaac, who went 2-for-4 on the afternoon.

Michael Lacantore took the mound for the Phillies RBI and worked his way out of several jams to keep his team in the ballgame. Lacantore tossed five solid innings while only surrendering two hits and striking out three. Lacantore's outing was even more impressive after having to battle out of tight situations from the five errors the Philadelphia defense had behind him.

"We know we are a good defensive team and we stuck with it," said Isaac of his team's defensive mishaps. "Even if we had five errors like we did today, we know we are going to make the next play, and that's in the back of our head every time."

Although Philadelphia struggled to make the routine plays, a defensive play ending up saving the game for the Phillies RBI when it mattered most.

With the score still tied at 1-1 and Nick Centino pitching for Philadelphia, Miami looked to be in position to take the lead with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the sixth inning. Miami's Nicholas Saltare lined a Centino fastball to the left-center-field gap, but center fielder Jawan McAllister, who entered in the fifth inning as a defensive substitution, raced over to make a game-saving sliding catch to preserve the tie game.

"We had to pull through on this game," said Isaac. "In the sixth inning, we all said we aren't going to tie again. We were determined to do whatever it takes to get the win and this team continues to deliver over and over again."

To close out the rest of the senior division age group Saturday, Jersey City picked up its second win of the weekend after getting past Cleveland, 7-5. Cleveland fell to 0-2-1 in pool play. Anaheim Angels RBI dropped their first game of the tournament, falling to Kansas City, Kan., 9-7, moving both teams to 2-1 in the standings. Houston Astros RBI tallied their first win after a Venezuela forfeit in the morning game, making each team 1-2.

In the junior division, each team played a doubleheader on Day 2. Miami Marlins RBI and St. Louis RBI swept their three pool play games to finish as the only undefeated teams in the age group. Los Angeles Dodgers RBI split their two games after winning their first on opening night to go 2-1 in pool play competition. Dominican Republic, Jersey City, N.J., Detroit and Prince George's County, Md., were among the four teams to come out with a 1-2 record on the weekend. Austin RBI, the lone Texas representative in the RBI World Series, ended up as the only team without a win in their first three games.

Bracket play will begin Sunday morning with two brackets competing in a single-elimination tournament at local high schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The semifinal games will take place Sunday evening with the RBI World Series championship games behind held Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. CT for the junior division and 10:30 a.m. for the senior division at Globe Life Park, home of the Texas Rangers.

Ryan Cox is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.