Big League All-Stars to miss ASPAC


An Islanders player gets ready to bat during their playoff game against the Braves in the Big League division of the SLLB early this month at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The CNMI will not have a representative in the Big League division of the 2016 Asia Pacific Regional Championships, which will be held in Nanjing, China next month, due to visa problems.

In a telephone interview yesterday, CNMI District Administrator James Ada said the Saipan Little League Baseball, Inc., which was tasked to form the Commonwealth team, decided not to send a squad because of lack of funding for visa payments. China, according to Ada, is charging $350 each for visa fees. SLLB coaches and the board earlier selected 16 players to suit up for the CNMI Big League All-Star Team and they were joined by three officials (manager, coach, and assistant coach).

SLLB president A.J. Murig, in a separate interview, confirmed the CNMI will not be playing in the Big League ASPAC, which will run from July 5 to 10 at the Dongshan Foreign Language School Ballpark. The winner in the six-day tournament will represent Asia Pacific in the World Series set for July 26 to Aug. 2 in Easley, South Carolina.

With the Commonwealth missing a stint in the ASPAC, its bid to return to the World Series has to wait for another year. The last time the CNMI Big League All-Stars play in the world stage was in 2008. Last year, Saipan hosted the typhoon-shortened ASPAC with many-time World Series qualifier Chinese-Taipei declared the eventual winner after earning the best record in pool play. Chinese-Taipei and Guam were supposed to play in last year’s finals, but the title game was called off due to Tropical Storm Chan-Hom.

Meanwhile, both Ada and Murig assured that the CNMI Major, Junior, and Senior League All-Stars are all set for their respective competitions.

The Majors crew will leave first as their World Series qualifier will take place from June 24 to July 2 in Seoul, South Korea. Up next will be the CNMI Junior League All-Stars, which will head to Taiwan for the June 28 to July 3 competition. The Commonwealth’s Senior League squad, which is the back-to-back champion in the ASPAC, will go for its third straight World Series stint when its plays in the Philippines from July 10 to 17.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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