The Chalan Kanoa Bears’ A.J. Lizama is likely to win the batting race in the 2018 Saipan Baseball League as he is way ahead of the field with just a few more games left in the regular season.
Lizama, who suited up for the CNMI National Team that competed in the 9th Micronesian Games in Yap last month, hit 40-for-74 at bat in 16 games for an average of .541. He is the lone batter to average at least .500, as the second-running Ben Jones of the Aces and the latter’s teammate Henry Lizama posted .464 after going 26-for-56 before the league took a break last month to give way to the Micro Games.
The 10-team league will resume tonight and with Jones’ Aces (10-6) having only two games remaining (against the Mariners on Aug. 9 and versus the Falcons on Aug. 14) in the double-round robin elimination and the Bears (15-1) with one left (against Indians on Aug. 7), A.J. seemed a lock to clinch the batting title. The Bears, actually should have two matches left, but they will only play one, as their second round meeting against the Ballistics is a guaranteed victory, as the latter have forfeited two games earlier and would not be allowed to play anymore as per tournament rule.
Joining A.J., Henry, and Jones in the Top 5 are the Mariners’ Shane Yamada and Patrick Tenorio, who earned batting averages of .460 and .453, respectively, when the league suspended its games.
Meanwhile, three players from GSM, which led the first round along with the Bears after holding similar 8-1 marks, made it to the Top 20 of the batting leaderboard.
Jerome Delos Santos and Franco Nakamura are ranked No. 13 and 14 after averaging.412 (21-for-51) and .408 (31-for-76), while Pat Alepuyo went 21-for-55 for an average of .382 and to take the No. 16 spot.
Titanium also had three players barging into the Top 20 with the No. 12 Brian Camacho recording batting average of .414 (29-for-70), No. 17 Jerald Cabrera registering .371 (23-for-62), and No. 18 Joe Palacios logging .368 (25-for-68). Completing the group are No. 6 and Bears’ Kiku Lizama (.421/24-for-57); No. 10 and Mariners’ Ton Tenorio (.400/22-for-55); No. 19 and Bears’ Virgil Secharmidal (.356/26-for-73); and No.20 Ballistics’ Ricky Joe Riungel (.356/21-for-59). The Top 20 batting leaders were based on 50 or more times at bat.
In other individual statistics, Jones leads a tight battle for the most runs scored. He has collected 29 so far, just ahead by one over A.J. Lizama and Nakamura. At close third with 27 are Brian Camacho and Lorenzo Sebaklim, followed by Diego Camacho and Kiku Lizama with 24 each and Ton Tenorio, Jerald Cabrera, and Secharmidal with 23 apiece.
Leaders in other divisions will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Tuesday edition.