The CNMI Little League All-Stars dropped their first two games in the 2017 Asia Pacific-Middle East Regional Tournament.
The CNMI first bowed to Thailand, 6-10, last Saturday during the opening match at the HwaSeong Dream Park in Seoul, South Korea. Then last Sunday the Commonwealth players also fell to Hong Kong, 1-5. The George Camacho-managed team was playing Saudi Arabia yesterday, hoping to enter the win column in Pool A. Guam completes the pool and will be challenged by the CNMI tomorrow in the first game at the main stadium of the HwaSeong Dream Park.
Before losing their debut match, CNMI Little League All-Stars once led Thailand after three innings, 6-4. A five-run bottom of the third inning allowed the CNMI to turn a 1-4 deficit to the two-run advantage. Camacho’s wards scored their first run in the second inning, while Thailand made it to the board at the top of the first before adding three runs in the third.
Neither team then found its targets in the fourth, while a three-run top of the fifth helped Thailand reclaim the upper hand, 7-6. Thailand kept the shaky lead when it shut down the CNMI anew at the bottom of the fifth and the former went on to gain more cushion after another three-run performance at the top of the sixth and last inning. At the bottom of the sixth, the Commonwealth still struggled to score against Thailand’s defense, resulting to the latter’s debut win.
For their second game, the CNMI Little League All-Stars hit the board only in the third inning, while Hong Kong leaned on its four-run top of the fourth to break the deadlock and hand the Commonwealth back-to-back losses. Hong Kong tied the match at the bottom of the third and closed out the game half an inning earlier as the CNMI went scoreless from the fourth to sixth inning.
Meanwhile, in other results in Pool A, Guam defeated Thailand last Sunday, 11-7.
In Pool B, hometown favorite Korea clobbered Chinese-Taipei, 12-0, while the Philippines outclassed Indonesia, 14-9, during the opening day of the World Series qualifier. Pool B did not have matches last Sunday, while the Philippines vs Chinese-Taipei and Korea vs Indonesia tiffs were scheduled yesterday, but results were unavailable at press time.
Only the Top 2 teams in each pool after the round-robin elimination will advance to the playoffs, which will be played this Thursday. The championship match, on the other hand, will be held this Friday with the winner earning the rights to represent Asia Pacific and Middle East to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.