CNMI Majors All-Star Team manager Gregorio Camacho is confident that their squad will surpass the performance of the Commonwealth’s representatives in the Asia Pacific-Middle East Regional Tournament last year.
“With the way I saw these players play last season and the way they are practicing now, I am pretty positive that we will play better in South Korea this time,” said Camacho after the Majors All-Stars’ training session at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield yesterday.
The select squad is made up of 14 players, who stood out in the 2019 Saipan Little League Baseball that concluded early this month. The list includes Ezra Ada, Albert Adriano, Justin Camacho, Casey Chambers, Damien Herman Cruz, Joey Vincent Dela Cruz, Austin Diaz, Achilles Evangelista, Noah Iguel, Pattylyn Mendiola, Isaiah Mesa, Dylan Santos, Greg Tebit, and Melvin John Tudela. Anthony Tenorio and Calvani Deleon Guerrero are the coaches, while SLLB president Mike Borja, umpire Manny Tenorio, and SLLB secretary Piding Tenorio complete the CNMI delegation to the 2019 Asia Pacific-Middle East Regional Tournament. The regionals will be held anew at the Hwaseong Dream Park in Seoul from June 23 to 30.
“We will use the remaining days of our practice for hitting and pitching drills. In Korea, there are many taller pitchers, so we have adults here pitching to test our boys. It’s the same thing with our pitching drills. Our players throw the ball to adults because we expect a lot of big hitters in the tournament,” the manager added.
The CNMI won only one game last year (against Indonesia, 8-3) and lost to China, Guam, and eventual champion South Korea.
Camacho said they don’t know yet who will be their opponents in this year’s World Series qualifier, but he expects that the host will still be the team to beat in the competition. It is also likely that China, Guam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and New Zealand will send teams to Korea.
“All I know is that there will be two pools in the elimination round and whichever group we landed, we just have to go all out and play our game,” the manager added.
Korea won last year’s tournament after dominating Chinese-Taipei in the finals, 6-1.