HAGATNA, Guam-Although the CNMI Big League All-Stars forced a three-way tie in the 2012 Asia-Pacific Regional Tournament standings following its 9-5 victory over archrival Guam last Monday in Hagatna's Paseo Stadium, it was the Philippines which advanced to the 2012 Big League World Series because of its superior quotient.
All three competing teams finished with identical 2-2 win-loss records, but the Philippines was declared the champion for maintaining the lowest run allowed average and will represent the Asia-Pacific region in the Little League World Series this August in Bangor, Maine.
The CNMI needed a shutout win on Monday to push through to the big shindig in the U.S. mainland.
Both of the CNMI's losses came by just a run.
“We did our best and played very well in my opinion, regardless of the outcome. I am proud of the boys because they competed their hearts out on the field, which is all I can ask; and all of the matches were close among all three teams,” said manager Joe Flores over the phone yesterday.
In the game against Guam Monday, the CNMI fired the first salvo in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a couple of errors at third base, which set up an RBI single by Patrick Tenorio that scored Leroy Regis.
Guam knotted it back up in the top of the second inning from a double by George Flores, but the CNMI moved ahead, 4-1, in the bottom frame off two hits.
Guam found two early outs, but the CNMI's Lamarc Iguel hustled out a fumbled ball to second base and Regis kept the inning alive with a base smash to left field.
MacGarette Duenas followed suit with a shot to left that brought in Iguel.
Duenas then stole second base, after which Regis stole home.
Duenas ended up at third base on the play and later stole the dish before Guam could escape the inning.
Guam would regroup, however, and tied the match at 4-all in the top of the fifth inning.
The CNMI immediately reclaimed control, 6-4, in the bottom frame. Duenas drew a walk and stole second base and Brian Camacho escorted him home with a slap to right field. Camacho scored soon after off an error.
The CNMI kept Guam at bay in the top of the sixth inning and then added three more runs to its lead in the bottom portion.
Pinch-hitter Ricardo Dela Cruz ignited a two-out rally with a double. He was driven home by Regis and Duenas stepped in next and doubled him to the plate and made his own way around the path off some more errant throws around the infield.
Guam mustered its final run in the seventh inning off a bean ball with the bases loaded, but in the end, CNMI's Duenas ran down a line drive to centerfield that sealed the deal.
The CNMI's Regis batted 3-for-4 with four runs, while Duenas went 3-for-3 with three runs, two stolen bases, and a base on balls.
Winning pitcher Brian Camacho gave up six hits and a walk with four strikeouts and four hit batsmen through six and a third innings; he exceeded his pitch count in the last inning and Regis filled the void.
Altogether CNMI plunked seven batters as Guam continued its strategy of crowding the plate. The same umpire from their first meeting was making the calls in the rematch and was consistent in not giving many calls on the outside of the plate to either team, so the CNMI had to throw inside.
The bean balls were unintentional and it appeared as though Guam wanted to get hit. Guam's Sean Cruz was plunked three times in the game.
The CNMI's Big and Senior All-Star squads returned from Guam last night.