The IT&E Fielders held on to defeat the D-9ers, 12-7, in Monday's Saipan Major League Baseball Association matchup held at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
Saipan Stevedore Co. Northern Yankees (4-0) still maintains a strong hold on first place in the standings though IT&E bumped up to second place with the win ahead of Tan Holdings Brewers (2-2), the St. Michael's Medical Response Angels (1-2) and D-9ers. Five teams make up the field.
SML action continues tonight at 6:30pm at Tan Ko Field with a makeup game between IT&E and the Angels.
The Fielders took a 2-0 lead in the first inning off a passed ball and an RBI single by Ricardo Dela Cruz, but the D-9ers fired back immediately in the ensuing frame and tied it back up.
Ninth batter Jeremy Atalig scored Robert Tudela and Martin Sablan with a two-out triple, but was nailed out at the plate trying to stretch it to a inside-the-park humdinger.
The D-9ers then took a brief 3-2 lead in the third inning after its leadoff speedster Isaiah Lizama singled on and scored off a wild pitch, but IT&E pulled ahead, 6-3, in the bottom of the fourth inning off a wave of five hits.
Jimmy Brel and Deron Flores both singled and scored off errors. Marvin Ngeskebei reached and scored of errors and Jordan Pangelinan singled on and was delivered home off an RBI base smash by Juan Maratita.
IT&E's Shane Mendiola was tapped to relieve starter Brel at the start of the fifth inning and kept the D-9ers at bay for two frames as his team added another handful of runs to go ahead, 11-3.
The Fielders added two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning off a single and a double by Brel and Zack Flores before piling on three more runs in the sixth off errors and two hits. Pangelinan led off the sixth with a triple and scored off an error, while the other two runs came around off a two-RBI base knock by John Reyes.
IT&E's Elton Santos then stepped to the mound to start the seventh inning, but was relieved by Mendiola after running into some problems in the eighth exchange when the D-9ers sparked a late four-run rally after a brief break in the action due to a downpour.
IT&E went on to get one run back in the bottom portion and held strong in the final stand.