The Aces finally played after a long break and showed little signs of rust in their 13-5 victory over the Falcons in the 2016 Saipan Baseball League last Monday night at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
The Best Sunshine International-sponsored Aces were supposed to play their first game last Thursday against the unbeaten Chalan Kanoa Bears after SBL action was suspended to give way to the Inaugural Micronesian Baseball Classic, but the match was rained-out. Only one of the five games slated last week was played with Titanium winning the Blue Jays, 12-2.
The Aces went on to duplicate Titanium’s easy victory after hitting their target. The Aces started with a 1-2-3 inning at the top of the first, but got into the grove in the ensuing plays to get their ninth win in 12 games. The Falcons dropped to a 7-5 mark.
Darion Jones paced the Aces with his three RBIs. He went 3-for-5 at the plate and scored two runs. Juan Iguel was only 2-for-5, but contributed three runs, while his brother Luis also added three runs off a 3-for-4 performance at bat. Ben Jones, Lamarc Iguel, Luis tallied one RBI each.
The Aces were 16-for-35 at the plate for a batting average of . 457, way ahead of the Falcons’ .200, as the former only hit 7-for-35.
The Falcons struggled offensively despite a good start. They scored three early runs at the bottom of the first after posting two earned runs and one off a stolen base. However, that was the last and only time the Falcons had the lead, as the Aces countered with a four-run top of the second to grab the upper hand and never relinquished it.
Luis and Juan Iguel each had RBI single in the second, while John Tudela reached off a balk and the former also made it home off the Falcons’ error at left field. The Aces added three more runs in the third and fourth—all of them came from the Falcons’ defensive lapses—while the latter got one run each in the third and fifth to stay in the game.
However, the Aces, after being shut down in the fifth, came out with three runs apiece in the sixth and seventh to widen the gap, which they maintained as it was their turn to silence the Falcons in the last four innings.
Pitcher Mike Iguel, who started for the Aces, had three strikeouts in his stint on the mound in the sixth and seventh and allowed no hits, while walking only one. Tudela relieved Mike and yielded only one hit, while striking out one batter. With Tudela pitching for the Aces in the final two innings and his teammates backing him up on defense, the Falcons were done in the eighth after only four batters and had a 1-2-3 inning in the last.