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Monday, April 21, 2014

Baseball action returns next month

Tan Holdings Brewers catcher Manny Sablan, left, gets a hi-five from teammate Mike Pangelinan during Game 4 of their title series against the IP&E Fielders in the Saipan Baseball League last year at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (ROSELYN B. MONROYO) Baseball games will be back at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios next month with Saipan Baseball League, Inc. opening its 2014 competition on Jan. 20.

The SBL (formerly known as Saipan Major League) so far has lured five teams, according to coordinator Tony Rogolifoi. Rogolifoi added representatives of participating and interested teams are requested to attend a meeting today at 5:30pm at the conference room of the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

Team names have yet to be released, but Rogolifoi said the squads that joined the 2013 season are likely to carry the same names. The Tan Holdings Brewers won last year’s championship and pennant. The Brewers dominated the IP&E Fielders in a best-of-five title series, 3-1, to rule the five-team field. The Brewers earlier won the pennant after edging the Saipan Stevedore Yankees in a tiebreak game, 12-10. The Brewers and Yankees slugged it out for the pennant after completing the three-round robin regular season with similar 10-2 records. The D-9ers and St. Michael Angels were the two other squads that participated in last season’s SBL.

Meanwhile, the “Tan Ko” ballfield will be busy, starting next month, as Saipan Little League Baseball, Inc. will also kick off its 2014 season on Jan. 17.

Rogolifoi, who is also the president of SLLBI, said the defending champions are expected to be back this season in a bid to retain their respective titles.

The Red Sox are the defending champions in the Junior League, notching back-to-back titles after beating the JPO Enforcers in last year’s finale, 5-3, at the “Tan Ko” ballfield. In the Senior League, the team to beat are the Fielders, who outclassed the NSA Braves in the title showdown, 8-4. Completing the roster of teams that gained titles wins at the “Tan Ko” ballfield were the Padres, who handed the NSA Braves another bridesmaid finish with a 2-1 triumph in the closely fought finale.

Over at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield, the defending champions are the Talaabwogh Falcons, who outclassed McDonald’s in the finals, 5-1.

The Falcons are among the 12 teams competing in the Majors division next season, while the Junior and Senior divisions have six teams apiece, and the Big League has lured five.

Baseball teams will be playing in the much-improved “Tan Ko” and “Tan Ge” ballfields, which are now under the care of the Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association.

For more information about SBL and SLLBI, contact Rogolifoi at 234-6672.

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