The 2014 Saipan Baseball League kicked off last Friday with the Brewers pounding the Fielders, 22-2, in a rematch of last year’s finals at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
The Brewers, who defeated the Fielders in last season’s best-of-five championship series, 3-1, allowed the latter to score only in the second inning and gave up only three hits to secure the victory via mercy rule three innings early.
The Fielders got the two runs at the bottom of the sixth inning with Jimmy Brel blasting a single and bringing home Joe Palacios and Khobby Kaipat. When Brel made the two-run single, the Fielders had no outs, but were called for two quick ones in the ensuing play, as Brel was beaten to second and Ruselle Hocog to third on a double play. A ground out at first base ended the inning for the Fielders and the Brewers managed to keep their distance, 7-2.
The Brewers got off to a good start, nailing the seven runs at the top of the first inning. Jun Rabauliman hit a two-run single, while Diego Camacho, Lenny Sablan, and Tyrone Omar contributed one RBI single each in the early push. The other run came off Ton Guerrero’s sacrifice fly.
The Brewers tried to add more runs in the second, but had two runners stranded before bouncing back in the next two innings, scoring nine runs to pull away further, 16-2. Nokki Saralu had a two-run double, while Harry Nakamura had a two-run single and the Brewers got two more runs in the fourth inning off the Fielders’ wild pitches. The Fielders also connected two runs off the Fielders’ miscues in the third inning and an RBI double from Diego Camacho.
While the Brewers were busy lighting up the scoreboard in the third and fourth, most of the Fielders’ batters walked back to their dugout early. Last season’s runners-up were done in the third after only three batters and were called for another double play in the fourth inning when they were in a good position to reach home plate.
The Fielders’ woes continued in the last two innings, as they had two runners stranded in the fifth inning after fifth batter Jared Sablan flied out and the team was charged with the third out. The two other outs were off a 6-3-putout play and a strike out from second pitcher Elton Santos.
Santos then sat out in the sixth inning for Vince Cepeda, who closed the match with two strikeouts. Cepeda also teamed up with Ton Guerrero to get the first out in the bottom sixth, which began after the Brewers got six more runs at the top.
The defending champions drew two RBIs each from five players, m went 16-for-32 at bat, and collected 13 RBIs. The Fielders had a dismal 3-for-20 showing at the plate and gave up nine runs off errors.
Meanwhile, former champions Yankees, Tigers, and North Stars are also entered in this year’s competition, while SBL is waiting for confirmation from one more squad. Games in the SBL are played every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.