The NSA Braves and the Blue Jays will dispute the Minors division championship in the 2019 Saipan Little League Baseball after finishing in the Top 2 at the end of the regular season.
The No. 1 Braves were unbeaten in the elimination, completing the six-game sweep following a 7-2 victory over the deposed champions Kagman Marlins last Saturday and a 4-2 triumph against the Blue Jays last Sunday. The Blue Jays placed second with their 3-3 card and will be the underdogs when they challenge the Braves in the 9am winner-take-all finale tomorrow at the Capitol Hill Ballfield.
Damian Marchadesh and Benigno Sablan combined for a two-hitter and eight strikeouts to lift the Braves to victory over the Marlins. Marchadesh started out for the Braves, giving up a single to Jeremiah Puah at the top of the third winning and yielding no earned run in the three innings he worked the mound. The starting pitcher also had six strikeouts. Sablan fanned two batters after relieving Marchadesh in the fourth inning and gave up one earned run and one hit. The closer’s second strikeout ended the match and left two Marlins runners stranded.
The Marlins posted their two runs in the first and fourth inning with Jacob Santos reaching off a passed ball and Ethan Dikito’s single driving in leadoff batter Austin Camacho.
The Braves also got into the board early, making four runs at the bottom of the first. Max Taitano reached home off the Marlins’ error and earlier drove in Marchadesh. Herman Iguel and Ezekiel Falig scored the two other runs for the Braves off the Marlins’ defensive lapses.
The Braves, who lost to the Marlins in the finals last season, tallied two more runs from the erstwhile champions’ miscues in the second inning, while Kashley Aguon reached off a passed ball.
Meanwhile, in their victory over the Blue Jays, the Braves used three pitchers to held the former to two runs.
Rosie Saralu, Herman Iguel, and Aiden Magofna pitched for the Braves and together they threw a no-hitter.
Saralu struck out the Blue Jays’ first three batters and fanned five more in the next two innings. Magofna came in at the bottom of the fourth inning where the Blue Jays scored one run (leadoff batter Cody Maratita) off a passed ball. Though, he did not give up a hit, Magofna was charged with five walks, bringing Blue Jays runners to all three corners.
With the Blue Jays threatening and the Braves needing only one out to wrap up the match (Magofna got the first out when he fanned Zander Rogolifoi and Nick Sablan was beaten to second), Iguel was called in to replace Magofna. The Braves closer quickly got the last out as he struck out Dave Mangarero, giving their team a perfect record in the regular season and the momentum going into this Saturday’s finale.
After the Braves-Blue Jays title showdown, the two semis games in the Majors division will take place. At 11am, defending champions Kagman Little Legals will take on the Falcons, while the Comets will collide with McDonald’s at 1pm.