LAREDO, TX- Facing elimination and seeking revenge for a heartbreaking loss to Puerto Rico on Saturday night, Coach Don Pletcher handed the ball to the battle-tested young man with a championship pedigree, and Chase Franken again displayed the mettle that has earned him a long list of big game victories as Youngstown defeated Puerto Rico 6-3 here Sunday night.
After a shaky start that saw Franken uncharacteristically walk two in the first inning, leading to two runs for Puerto Rico, he found his groove retiring 14 of 15 batters at one point. He went the distance allowing 3 runs on five hits while striking out six and walking three.
Offensively, the Astro Falcons took an early 1-0 lead as Franken started the game with a base hit and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Justin Miknis. They tied the score at 2-2 in the second when Bobby Lane scored on a balk. Then trailing 3-2 in the fourth, Lucas Gulczinski led off with a single and was moved along by a Ricky Havrilla base hit. Brandon Gelpi drew a walk, setting the stage for the night’s biggest blow. Brayden Beck delivered a bases-clearing triple to right giving Youngstown a 5-3 lead. Franken then drove home Beck to finish the scoring.
Youngstown now faces Puerto Rico for the rubber match tomorrow morning here at Uni-Trade in Laredo. Once again, YSNlive.com will bring you the game at 11:00 a.m. EST. The winner of that game plays Chinese-Tapei for the 2019 Palomino World Championship at 8:00 p.m. EST.
*Contributed by Mark Franken