Last year’s finalists kicked off action in the Senior League of the 2014 Saipan Little League Baseball with runner-up NSA Braves stunning defending champion Fielders, 6-3, last Sunday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
The Braves, which lost to the Tan Siu Lin Foundation-backed Fielders in last season’s finale, 4-8, won its early rematch against the latter after scoring three runs apiece in the fourth and fifth inning and giving up no earned runs to the defending champions.
After both teams went without runs in the first three innings, the Braves broke their silence at the top of the fourth, thanks to M.J. Sakisat’s two-run single and J.J. Lifoifoi’s RBI single. Lifoifoi brought leadoff batter Roke Tenorio home, while Sakisat’s hit helped Logan Martin and the former scored.
The Fielders answered with only one run at the bottom of the fourth with Mike Muna stealing base and this could not spark a rally in the last three innings, as the defending champions were also limited to one run apiece in the fifth and sixth. Both runs came off errors and the Fielders were held to two hits and had a walk with A.J. Evangelista on the mound for the Braves, replacing Lifoifoi.
Evangelista pitched 5.2 innings and had four strikeouts, including the last two that wrapped up the match. He also got a run in the fifth inning off Tenorio’s double, while the latter made it home, too after a Fielders’ error, and the Braves bagged another run from their foe’s booboo to end the fight with a 6-2 lead.
Jets 16, Lions 0
In the second game, the Jets ran over the Lions, finishing the one-sided game two innings early.
The Jets utilized three pitchers against the Lions and held their foes to only one hit. Jesse Brel, Nathan Camacho, and Kenji Yamagata combined for 10 strikeouts for the Jets. With the Jets pitchers playing steady on the match and the rest of the team’s defense holding on, the Lions made it to as far as third base only once. Carry Camacho moved to first off a Jets shortstop error and reached third after their foes committed two more miscues, but was stranded there, as Brel struck out Jesse Kalen for the third out.
The Jets complemented their solid defense with consistent offense, as they scored 10 earn runs. Yamagata went 3-for-4 for the Jets and had two RBIs, while K.J. Deleon Guerrero also added RBIs off a 3-for-5 performance at bat.
Red Sox 6, Enforcers 2
In the last game in the opening day of the Senior League, the Red Sox outclassed the DARE Enforcers.
Jhace Palacios pitched in no relief for the Red Sox in seven innings and after struggling in the first three innings he held strong in the last four to help his team with their debut game. Palacios gave up only two hits and no runs in the last two innings and earned three strikeouts. The Red Sox pitcher also drew support from their outfielders, as the team caught six flies in the four-inning shutout.
Before going cold, the Enforcers managed to score in the second and third inning off Jon Sagun’s sacrifice fly and a catcher error, but still faced a 2-5 deficit. The Red Sox took the lead early, 3-0, behind Palacios’ two-run single and Vincent Leon Guerrero’s RBI single at the top of the first. E.J. Castro also had a two-run single in the third inning, while Jose Reyes scored the team’s last run off Henry Lizama’s base hit.