With little more than a month and a half remaining before the region’s diamond kings lace up the cleats and run onto Francisco M. Palacios Baseball Field for the start of the 6th Micronesian Games, organizers of the CNMI team announced the squad that will march behind the latte stone, star, and mwarmwar this summer.
The baseball team is one of the medal hopeful squads that are looking to make a name for themselves and manager Tony Rogolifoi and head coach Tino Camacho will have a veritable dream team on their hands when they guide the CNMI from the dugout.
This team looks to be even stronger than the squad that went to Palau last summer for the 2005 South Pacific Mini Games and packs a punch with a seamless blend of youth and experience grounded in the fundamentals.
This year’s all-stars include pitchers Chris Camacho, youngster James Kintol, Joe Guerrero, Jonathan Camacho, but Roy “the Rocket” Celis, J.P. Sablan, Byron Kaipat, Craig Sanchez, and Luis Iguel can also run in from their positions in the field if called upon to take the hill.
Manny Sablan will be tabbed to catch for the team as well as Sanchez, while Tony Camacho, Greg F. Camacho, Jess Mesa, Jester Garcia, John S. Reyes, A.J. Allen, and Tony Celis, will be tabbed to handle the infield duties.
Tyrone Omar and Jerome Delos Santos are the only players named strictly as outfielders, Dane Lizama and Oliver Secharmidal are listed as the team’s utility players, and hard-hitting B.J. Sablan is listed as the designated hitter.
Omar will have his hands, or rather his feet, full during the Games as he will pull double duty as the hard-charging sprinter for the track and field team.
Rogolifoi said that he is pleased with the selection and that he feels that his team will have a legitimate shot at medaling in the Games.
“I think we have a balanced team as far as offense and defense. The skills of this team are pretty amazing. They displayed them in the Saipan Major League, but some of the criteria were the mental attitude of the boys during practice and how they can competed during crunch time. I cannot say that we’re going win the gold, but we definitely have a strong team that has a chance to medal in the games,” he said.
The manager said that he has yet to set a date for the first practice but that he will try to get a hold of all the players and schedule a meeting for Monday. Rogolifoi also said that the current session of SML ball will continue but that he will have to spend a lot of time getting the team properly conditioned.
“We will continue with the league but at the same time we have to get them in shape before the Micro Games,” he said.