The GSM Brewers will have a chance to defend their title after notching the second finals berth in the 2014 Saipan Baseball League.
The Brewers swept the Fielders after earning a 7-4 win in Game 2 of their short best-of-three semis series last Wednesday night at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. The defending champions, who came off an impressive 9-0 victory over the Fielders in Game 1 last Thursday, will meet the Saipan Stevedore Yankees in the best-of-five title showdown with Game 1 set for tonight at 6:30pm. The Yankees made it to the finals after prevailing in the first two games of their Final Four duel versus the Northern Starz.
In the other semis pairing, the Brewers duplicated the Yankees’ feat, as the former got off to a good start in the series-clinching Game 2 and shut out the latter in the last four innings to return to the finals. The Brewers scored four runs at the top of the first off Manny Sablan, Diego Camacho, and Byron Kaipat’s RBI singles and a sacrifice fly from Mike Pangelinan and zoomed to a 6-0 run after registering one run each in the third and fourth inning. Sablan hit another RBI single in the third, while pinch runner Vince Cepeda reached home at the top of the fourth off a passed ball.
The Fielders, who went 1-2-3 in the first three innings against Brewers starting pitcher Lenny Sablan, finally hit their target at the bottom of the fourth with J.P. Lizama’s single driving Zack Flores home. Sablan continued to pitch for the Brewers in the fifth, giving up one more earned run and the Fielders bagged two runs off the defending champions’ miscues to move within two, 4-6.
Flores also scored the Fielders’ run in the fifth inning off Vince Sablan’s single and after the Brewers were threatened, manager Tony Rogolifoi called in veteran Roy Celis to relieve Lenny Sablan. Celis started out his shift with two base on balls and one strike before Aaron Benavente made contact with the ball, but was called for a fly out at centerfield to end the inning.
Celis went on to close out the game for the Brewers and allowed only one hit, while stranding four runners and striking three. He drew help from the Brewers outfielders in shutting down the Fielders in the last four innings. The Fielders were called for five fly outs in the last four frames with Brewers catcher Manny Sablan getting the last fly off a foul ball from Flores to end the game and hand the defending champions the second and last finals berth.