Baseball dominates awards night
Baseball stood out in last night’s 2011 NMASA 2011 NMASA Annual Sports Banquet, having the most awardees in the event.
The CNMI Baseball Team took the Team of the Year Award, Tony Rogolifoi won the Coach of the Year, and Saipan Major League Baseball president Rose Igitol claimed the Sports Administrator of the Year.
Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association handed the Team of the Year award for the first time and no other squad was deserving to get the plum than the CNMI Baseball Team, which beat all odds to win the gold medal in the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia.
The squad was formed only a few months before the September tournament and less than a month before the Games kicked off, the Commonwealth sluggers were still not sure about the New Caledonia trip due to funding problems.
The team eventually made it to Noumea, won its first time and lost the next two before winning the last two for an inconsistent performance in the elimination round. With its 3-2 record, the CNMI managed to claim the last ticket to the playoffs and had to play and win two games in one day to advance to the finals.
The Commonwealth sluggers went on to beat New Caledonia and Palau and then Guam in the finals, 8-4, to give the CNMI its first gold medal in the baseball competition in the Pacific Games.
The gold medal team was composed of Joshua Jones, Ian Rogolifoi, Juan Maratita, Eric Tenorio, Ian Rogolifoi, Keoni Lizama, Mike Iguel, Vince Cepeda, Elton Santos, Jesus Iguel, Tyrone Omar, Franco Flores, Thomas Joab, Jerome Delos Santos, Byron Kaipat, Manny Sablan, and Craig Sanchez.
Tony Rogolifoi managed the team and won back-to-back Coach of the Year award. He notched the same trophy in 2010 for bringing the CNMI to the finals in the 2010 Micronesian Games in Palau.
Joining the winning squad was Igitol, who led the team’s fundraising efforts and coordinated its trip and other activities that allowed the CNMI to compete in New Caledonia despite budgetary constraints.
Besides her contribution to the Pacific Games stint, Igitol also had her hands full organizing local tournaments and taking an active role in the development of baseball in the region. She was elected to the Executive Committee of the Basketball Confederation of Oceania last year, making her the first female to be selected to the prestigious organization.