Defending champions Falcons nosed out the JPO Enforcers, 5-4, as action in the Major division of the 2014 Saipan Little League Baseball League returned over the weekend at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield.
The Falcons faced the Enforcers last Sunday and pulled off the close win, their second in as many games. The victory was courtesy of relief pitcher and first baseman Justin Cangco and closer Max Pangelinan, who delivered for the defending champions in the homestretch.
Cangco, who had a brief stint on the mound in the third inning before returning to first base, made the go-ahead run at the bottom of the fifth inning. He was the second batter for the Falcons in that inning, blasted a triple, and then reached home off the Enforcers’ error at second base.
With Cangco putting the Falcons on top, 5-4, the Enforcers must make at least one run at the top of the last inning to extend the game, but the latter seemed to succumb to pressure early, as it was called for the first two outs. Cangco caught a fly ball from leadoff batter Raymond Ilo, while Pangelinan struck out Paul Itibus. A base hit from shorts stop Troy Laniyo kept the Enforcers’ hopes alive, but not for long, as Pangelinan and Cangco teamed up in the last out. The closer picked up a grounder and threw to Cangco at first base to end the match.
It was another sorry loss for the Enforcers, who dropped their opener to the Braves, 1-2, on Jan. 19. The Enforcers were scheduled to play their second game against the IP&E Rockies on Jan. 25, but that match along with the five other games in the second week of the competition were rained out.
When action resumed over the weekend, only four matches were played, as the two others were won by forfeitures. The Ol’Aces prevailed by default in the first game against the Twins, while the Falcons met the Enforcers in the last match.
The final game last Sunday started with the Falcons taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning, courtesy off Cangco and Angel Iguel’s RBI singles and an error at second base. The Enforcers then tied the match at the top of the third inning, 3-3, off Rikko Lizama’s two-run double and a passed ball.
The Falcons quickly regained the lead at the bottom third, 4-3, off Iguel’s RBI triple, but the Enforcers evened up the match anew at the top of the fifth inning with Lizama reaching home plate off the defending champions’ miscue at third base.
IT&E and the Red Sox played in the other game last Sunday and results will be reported in Saipan Tribune later this week.
Comets I 10, Braves 7
In last Saturday’s final game, Comets I also booked its second win in as many games after defeating the Braves (1-1).
Comets I got off to a good start and withstood the Braves’ late rally to keep its unbeaten record.
A five-run bottom off the first inning have the Comets I control of the match. Nifftan Rosiong had a two-RBI double in first inning, while the three other runs came off two walks and a passed ball.
The Braves failed to score in the opening inning before making in to the board in the second off a passed ball, but still failed to make headway, while the Comets got three more runs in the fourth for an 8-1 advantage.
The Braves then threatened the Comets I in the penultimate inning after gaining five runs, mostly off errors, to move within two, 6-8. A two-run single from Jesse Taitaino at the bottom fifth give Comets I distance and it went on to preserve the lead and the win after giving up only one run at the top of the sixth. Josenio Alvarez doubled and eventually reached home for the Braves with only one out before the Braves’ next two batters were beaten to first base.