The Braves officially forced a rubber match against the Falcons for the pennant in the Major division of the 2017 Saipan Little League Baseball after winning their final game in the regular season last Saturday at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield.
The Braves topped the Twins in last weekend’s curtain-raiser, 15-8, to finish the elimination with a 10-2 record—the same mark that the Falcons had. The Braves and the Falcons will battle for the pennant and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs this Saturday.
Shortstop Patrick Celis towed the Braves to win No. 10 as he went 2-for-2 at bat and scored three runs, three RBIs, and two doubles. Catcher Heath Camacho added two runs off his 3-for-4 performance at bat and contributed two RBIs, while first baseman Tristan Norita also hit 3-for-4 at bat and tallied three runs.
The Braves led right from the get-go, leaving no room for a Twins upset. The winning team scored in the first three innings, combining for eight runs against the five of the Twins. Neither squad then made it to the board in the fourth inning, but the Braves regrouped quickly with a six-run top of the fifth to attempt a breakaway. Celis blasted a two-run double in that inning and also reached off a Twins error, while the Braves got three more earned runs.
The Twins countered with only one run at the bottom of the fifth with Brandon Tesiro making it home off a fielder’s choice, while the Braves got the one run back at the top of the sixth, also from a fielder’s choice for a 15-6 advantage.
The Braves ended up winning by seven after the Twins added just two runs in the last inning. Actually, the Twins had a good chance of scoring more when they loaded the bases with two outs and after D.J. Aldan and Terrel Rabago reached home. However, Braves third baseman Jylon Sablan picked up the short shot of Albert Adriano and threw to Norita for the final out.
Meanwhile, in the second game last Saturday, the Docomo Ol’Aces downed Pirates-1, 22-16, to improve their record to 4-7.
The Ol’Aces have one game left in the regular season, but are already assured of the playoff slot, joining the Falcons, Braves, Kagman Little Legals (9-3), Comets (9-3), Pirates-2 (6-5), McDonald’s (6-6), and Bank of Saipan (4-7) to the next round. Pirates-1, which dueled Bank of Saipan in the third match (make-up) last Saturday, and the Twins (0-11) are out of the playoffs.
It was a come-from-behind victory for the Ol’Aces, as they faced a 9-15 deficit after the first three innings. The Ol’Aces managed to recover and stole the win when they combined for 13 runs in the fourth and fifth inning and held Pirates-1 to two in the last three innings.
The Ol’Aces capitalized on Pirates-1’s defensive lapses in the fourth inning, gaining five runs from the latter’s miscues and the two off passed ball and a fielder’s choice. Then in the fifth inning, Tristan Rogolifoi hit a two-RBI doubles and was driven home by Derek Sasamoto’s single as the Ol’Aces added six more runs for a 22-15 lead.
Pirates-1, which started the game with seven runs and registered four apiece in the second and third, were silent in the fourth and fifth before tallying two in the last inning and falling short in its bid to regain the lead and take the win.