Gloves, bats, and balls will remain in the equipment bags for a little while longer as the Saipan Major League Baseball Association announced that they are providing the Fall and Masters Leagues teams another week to prepare for the return to the Kan Pacific Baseball Field in Marpi.
The veterans of the Masters League will be the first to take Saipan’s poolside diamond when the pennant champion Typhoons face the fourth place Hurricanes at 10am on Saturday, Jan. 14, in the opening round of post season action, followed by the runner-up Cyclones and the third place Tornadoes at 1pm.
The winners will advance to the championship game the following week on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the same field.
The rising stars get their shot in the playoffs a day later as the pennant-winning Hustlers square up with the fourth place D-9ers for the first game of their best-of-three series on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 9am.
Three hours later, the runner-up Pirates will vie for their chance at the title when they kickoff their series with the Tanapag No Zone at noon. The winners advance to the best-of-five championship series, and while the odds makers are leaning toward a match-up between the Hustlers and the Pirates, both teams have shown their ability to be beaten.
In other SML news, league coordinator Tony Rogolifoi announced that local baseball’s governing body will be holding a meeting next month on Feb. 9,at 5:30pm regarding the start of the highest caliber of hardball in the CNMI.
Teams gearing up for the 2006 SML season need to supply a $1,200 registration fee and their rosters by Feb. 13 in advance of opening day. (Brad E. Ruszala)