The Yankees prevailed in a low-scoring game against the North Star, 2-1, in the 2014 Saipan Baseball League last Friday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
The Yankees and the North Star played their first game of the season with the former joining early winner and defending champions Brewers, who dominated the Fielders, 22-2, during the league opener last Jan. 24.
Manny Cabrera, Kevin Kapileo, and Thomas Joab shut out the North Stars in the first eight innings to lift the Yankees to victory. Cabrera started out for the Yankees, struck out four batters, and gave up only one hit in three innings, while stranding eight runners. Kapileo duplicated Cabrera’s feat, striking out four and allowing only one hit in three innings pitched. Joab closed out for the Yankees and almost secured the shutout only if not for a wild pitch that enabled Dodet Feliciano to reach home in the ninth inning.
Feliciano was the second batter and hit a double to keep the North Stars’ hopes alive, as they had only one out. Yankees first baseman Gary Cruz got the first out after picking up a grounder from leadoff batter William Babauta. Cruz earned the second out when he received a throw from third baseman Jerome Delos Santos and beat Jeremy Atalig. The third and final out was courtesy of Joab, who redeemed himself from the earlier wild pitch by striking out Juan Iguel.
While it took the North Stars nine innings before scoring, the Yankees made it to the board early, drilling two runs at the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Ben Jones registered the first run in the game, as he walked, stole second, and made it all the way home off wild pitches from Dave Jones. Delos Santos scored the second run for the Yankees, as he walked, advanced to second off a passed ball, stole third, and reached off a fielder’s choice.
The Yankees had three more chances to gain additional runs, but could not complete the plays, as the North Stars’ defense also held strong. Pat Alepuyo reached third base in the second inning, but was stranded along with two other runners, as the North Stars caught two straight fly balls.
Then in the sixth inning, it was Cruz’s turn to be in a scoring position, but was denied when Dave Jones struck out Alepuyo. David Camacho also moved to as far as third base in the seventh inning, but the leadoff batter was stuck there, as the Yankees’ next three batters were booted out.
The North Stars were in scoring positions on three occasions in the first eight innings, but also faltered before breaking the spell in the ninth. Jesus Iguel led off for the North Stars, but was left stranded at third, while second batter Lamarc Iguel remained at second, as the third batter was tagged out at second, the fourth was struck out, and the fifth was beaten to first.
In the second inning, the North Stars also moved one step away from scoring, but Cabrera got back-to-back strikeouts, while Juan Iguel was beaten to second base. Juan Iguel’s woes continued in the seventh when he was stuck at third after Kapileo got another strikeout for the third out.