The Braves and Ol’Aces banked on their strong start to down separate opponents in the Major division of the 2017 Saipan Little League Baseball last Saturday at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield.
The Braves edged Pirates-2, 16-15, in the first game, while the Ol’Aces topped the Twins, 18-7, in the final match. Bank of Saipan played in the second tiff and prevailed against Pirates-1, 20-9.
In the curtain-raiser, the Braves built an 11-1 lead after the first two innings and withstood Pirates-2’s late surge to save the win.
Tristan Norita had a two-RBI double and an RBI single in the first and second inning for the Braves, who earned five runs at the top of the first and six in the second. Norita also scored one run, while Heath Camacho, Patrick Celis, Jylon Sablan, and Grafton Howard made two runs each to give the Braves the early double-digit lead.
However, Pirates-2 mounted a comeback in the last four innings with Evan Mendiola’s RBI double at the bottom of the sixth inning moving his team within one with two outs. Mendiola then reached third off a passed ball from Taisei Desebel to keep Pirates-2 in the game. However, not for long, as Desebel struck out Ryder Alvarez to end the match and foil Pirates-2’s upset bid.
Norita went 4-for-4 in the Braves’ close win and scored four RBIs and two runs. His RBI single at the top of the fifth inning gave his team cushion. Norita’s hit brought Grafton home in that inning and the latter also recorded an RBI single earlier.
In the Ol’Aces-Twins tiff, the former zoomed to a 15-0 advantage and never looked back to barge into the win column.
The Ol’Aces got three earned runs at the top of the first and registered seven of their 10 runs in the second off the Twins’ miscues for the easy win.
Tyler Taitano and Dave Borja both went 3-for-4 at bat for the Ol’Aces. Taitano also scored three runs and one RBI, while Borja had three RBIs, three runs, one triple and two doubles.
In the second game, Bank of Saipan finished strong to beat Pirates-1 after only four innings.
Bank of Saipan set up the early win via 10-run mercy rule after collecting 10 runs at the top of the third inning, turning a deadlock (4-4) to a 14-7 lead. Bank of Saipan’s top of the order all reached home plate and two batted twice and scored two times. The eventual winner had four earned runs in the pivotal inning.
Pirates-1 then answered with only three runs at the bottom of the third, while Bank of Saipan added six more runs at the top of the fourth to put more pressure to its foe. Pirates-1 went on to falter at crunch time after making only two runs at the bottom fourth.