The pennant champions Tan Holding Brewers pulled off an 8-6 win over the IT&E-Shell Fielders at the start of their best-of-three semis series in the 2012 Saipan Major League last Thursday night at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Ballfield.
The home team Brewers struck first off early jitters by IT&E-Shell Fielders' infield, but ran cold in the next three innings, as I&E-Shell's pitcher Jimmy Brel settled down into his zone.
The IT&E-Shell Fielders postured up for four runs in the second inning off some errors, an RBI single from Anthony Tenorio, and a two-RBI double from Brandon Santos. It then went ahead, 5-1, in the third inning off another three hits and an error.
Brewers' starter Vince Cepeda was tapped in the top of the fourth inning after issuing a leadoffwalk and Thomas Camacho came in and built a wall from that point, holding the IT&E-Shell Fielders scoreless in the next five innings.
Camacho's teammates rewarded his effort with a five-run rally in the fifth and sixth innings and bagged him some late insurance for good measure.
Two hits and some extra throws moved the Brewers within two after the fifth, 3-5, as Clifton Silil was credited with an RBI base rip and they assumed control, 6-5, in the bottom of the sixth frame using the same recipe.
Brewers' Roy Celis led off with a walk and was driven home by Mike Pangelinan. Then a sacrifice bunt by Oliver Secharmedal ended up getting Pangelinan to the plate. Secharmedal advanced to third base off the error and legged out a suicide slide for the lead.
Camacho remained steady from the rubber late in the duel and teammate Tony Guerrero provided insurance with a base knock that brought Pangelinan to the plate. Guerrero then stole second and third before making it home off another infield error.
The IT&E-Shell Fielders threatened a last inning comeback, but Camacho pulled it together and got it done. He contained IT&E-Shell to just one run before leaving their foe with a couple of runners on the path.
Camacho gave up zero earned runs off three hits with eight strikeouts through six innings.
With the victory, the Brewers need only one more win against the IT&E-Shell Fielders next week to advance to the best-of-five title series versus the winner of the Yankees-Angels duel. The second-ranked Saipan Stevedore Company Yankees took Game 1 of their separate semis series against defending champions St. Michael's Medical Response Angels after coasting to a 13-2 win in the playoffs opener last Tuesday.
The Yankees will try a semis series sweep on Monday when they face the Angels anew at 6:30pm at the “Tan Ko” field.