The GSM Brewers claimed Game 1 of their best-of-five title series against the Saipan Stevedore Yankees in the 2014 Saipan Baseball League, working out a 5-2 victory in the opener last Friday night at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
Vince Cepeda pitched a complete game for the Brewers and denied the Yankees entry to the scoreboard in the first seven innings in the Game 1 victory. Game 2 was scheduled last night with the Yankees hoping to even the series and preventing the Brewers from taking the pivotal 2-0 advantage in the championship showdown.
With Cepeda showing composure on the mound and his teammates also holding their ground in the first seven innings, the Brewers erected a 5-0 lead. The defending champions recorded all four runs at the top of the third inning and got another one in the seventh. The Brewers got two runs off Yankees errors at shortstop and centerfield, while the two other runs came from a fielder’s choice and sacrifice ground out from designated hitter Mike Pangelinan. Pangelinan then had a sacrifice fly at the top of the seventh to bring home leadoff batter Jun Rabauliman, who walked to first and stole second and third to move to scoring position.
While the Brewers managed to squeeze out some runs off the Yankees’ miscues, this year’s pennant champions failed to capitalize on two opportunities to make it to the board. The first chance came at the bottom of the second with leadoff batter Gary Cruz advancing to first after a hit by pitch. Cruz went on to move to second off a Cepeda wild pitch and a Brewers fielding booboo, but was eventually booted out on a run-down play. The Yankees’ second attempt to score happened in the seventh inning with Tim Cruz hitting a single and running all the way to the third off the Brewers’ miscues with only one out, but the Brewers again spoiled the party, catching two straight fly balls.
The Yankees then finally got into the board at the bottom of the eighth inning to start a rally. Chris Camacho scored the first run off a fielder’s choice, while Ben Flores made it two in a row off a Greg Iskawa single with two outs and runners on second and third. The Brewers went on to leave the two runners stranded, as centerfielder Marvin Kaipat caught another fly ball to end the frame.
A Brewers’ 1-2-3 play off two consecutive strikeouts from relief pitcher Dave Camacho and a 4-3 putout play at the top of the ninth and last inning kept the Yankees’ hopes alive, going into the last inning. However, the Yankees were also done after only three batters at the bottom of the ninth inning, handing the Brewers the Game 1 win. Cepeda struck out leadoff batter Ben Jones, while Kaipat got his third straight fly out, as he chased a shot from A.J. Lizama with the ball heading far deep to centerfield. Brian Camacho committed the third out when he was charged with a running path violation.