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Dominican RBI wins third straight Junior title

Dominican RBI wins third straight Junior title
MINNEAPOLIS -- Players paraded around the infield, proudly displaying the Dominican Republic flag. If Dominican RBI has become accustomed to winning RBI World Series titles, it didn't keep huge smiles from the boys' faces as they celebrated.

The Dominican Republic squad won its third consecutive Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities Junior Division World Series with a 5-1 victory over Chicago White Sox RBI at Target Field. Dominican RBI joins Detroit as the only RBI team to ever win three straight division titles.

It was also the fourth straight trip to the title game for the Dominicans, who toppled Los Angeles in 2011 and Washington, D.C., in 2010 for the program's first ever RBI title.

Oscar Perez, the director of the Dominican RBI program, said the victory was important for more than just competitive reasons.

"For us, it means a lot," Perez said through a translator. "Because it motivates and promotes initiative for more kids in the Dominican Republic to join the program. The program requires them to be a good student, to have discipline, and then the game comes after that."

Starting pitcher Pablo Ochoa exemplified that, turning in a tremendous complete-game effort. Ochoa limited Chicago to one run on six hits and struck out four on the way to being named Most Valuable Player.

Sunday's run against him was the only one he allowed in 13 total innings of work in the tournament. The victory also marked his second win in as many days as he threw five shutout innings in a 10-0 victory against Jersey City RBI during a Saturday quarterfinal matchup.

Ochoa finished the World Series with an 0.54 ERA.

"It was a great game because Ochoa has what a pitcher needs," Perez said. "Patience and discipline."

His teammates backed him with a three-run first inning.

Walks issued by Chicago starter Jalen McMillan helped the Dominican Republic take its 3-0 lead in the first. Fernandez Perez belted a two-RBI double to highlight the early surge.

Yimmelvyn Alonzo led off the frame with a walk, with Yunior Soto's sacrifice bunt advancing him to second. Hidekel Gonazalez drew another walk before Reiny Beltre popped out to second. But McMillan couldn't capitalize and get out of the jam, hitting Randel Alcantara to load the bases. Eloy Jimenez's single through the left side scored Alonzo before Perez followed with a double. McMillan struck out Bryan Soto to end the inning.

The Dominican Republic tacked on two more runs in the fourth as Soto and Beltre each drove in a run with a double and single, respectively.

Five runs didn't quite match the explosive pace the Dominicans had established earlier in the tournament, scoring 49 runs in their first five games. But it was behind Ochoa's strong performance.

"The important thing was to have more runs," Perez said regarding the team's quick start in the first. "This championship team usually has 10 runs per game."

Chicago strung together three hits in the fourth but only managed one run when Jalen Davis scored on Jeremy Houston's groundout. Davis and Nick Wheeler started the inning with back-to-back singles. Both runners advanced on Belgee Falkner's sacrifice. Houston drove in the run after a single from McMillan before Anthony Justiniano lined out to end the threat.

With Ochoa returning to play next year as well, the Dominican Republic has to like its chances at lifting the John Young Trophy a fourth straight time.

"This experience for me means a lot, because I've realized what I actually am," Ochoa said. "And since this is my first year, next year I'll try to do the same thing. Next year, I come with more experience."

Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for