The Hustlers rallied to tie the Pirates late before sinking them 7-4 with three runs in extra innings to take the pennant in the fall edition of the Saipan Major League yesterday afternoon at the Kan Pacific Baseball Field in Marpi.
Manny Sablan’s sacrifice fly to center was far enough to drive in the game’s eventual game winning run in the top of the 10th innings as Josh Arriola screamed across home plate.
Arriola reached base on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning and later advanced to third on a wild pitch to get into scoring position. Arriola’s late-game base running was the highlight of his day, while Sablan was a hitting machine all game long.
The hard-hitting third baseman went 3-for-4 with three singles and a pair of runs batted in, while shortstop Jerome Delos Santos went 3-for-4 with a pair of singles, a double, and an RBI on the day.
While Delos Santos was batting like a champ, he came up huge in the field in the bottom of the eighth when he dove toward second to snag a Luis Iguel grounder and flipped it to Dane Lizama for an out. Lizama tagged the base and fired the ball to J.R. Suel on first to complete the double play to end the Pirates’ threat.
Suel went 4-for-6 with three base knocks, a double, and three ribbies, but the big man also stole third late in the game to keep the Pirates’ pitchers guessing.
As a team, the Hustlers scored their seven runs off 14 hits while holding the Pirates to four runs on seven hits thanks to the arms of Jonathan Camacho and A.J. Allen.
Camacho allowed four runs off of six his while fanning four through four and a third before Allen came in midway through the fifth to finish out the remaining five an two-thirds by yielding only one hit and six strikeouts.
The Hustlers were trailing 4-2 after six and a half before Suel drove in Delos Santos in the bottom of the seventh and Eric Lizama scored to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth.
Neither team managed a run in the ninth, but the Hustlers scored three runs off if a hit and by capitalizing on two walks and an error to end the season ahead by one game.
Tanapag No Zone 9, D-9ers 7
The Tanapag No Zone assured themselves of the lesser of two evils in the playoffs as they defeated the D-9ers, 9-7, to clinch third place in the SML Fall thanks to some clutch hitting in the bottom of the six.
Shortstop Jordan Suel went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a triple to lead Tanapag to its third win of the season while teammate Henry Iguel went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and a run batted in.
As a team, Tanapag scored its nine runs off of 10 hits while the No Zone pitching staff allowed seven runs off of four hits and eight walks.
Tanapag trailed 1-0 after two and half innings before erupting for six runs off of seven hits in the bottom of the third to take a commanding five run lead. Their command didn’t last long, as the D-9ers answered with five runs off of four hits in their next at bat to tie the game at a half-dozen.
The No Zone regained the lead its next shot at D-9ers pitching. After getting to first base on a bean ball, Clint Quitugua advanced to third before stealing home for the eventual game winner.
After a break for the holiday season, the playoffs will get underway on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006, at 9am when the Hustlers face the fourth place D-9ers followed by the Pirates and the Tanapag No Zone at noon.