The CNMI Senior All-Stars are on the verge of missing a return trip to the World Series as they dropped another game in the 2016 Asia Pacific Regional Tournament yesterday at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, Philippines.
Australia handed the defending champions a 16-0 beating in the second game in the Senior League division, giving the former the early lead in the five-team tournament with its 2-0 record. The Land Down Under bets also routed the Philippines, 21-4, in their opening match last Monday, while the CNMI fell to Guam, 7-12, in the first game in the World Series qualifier.
With its back-to-back losses, the CNMI must prevail in its duel against the Philippines today and versus Indonesia on Friday and hope that both Guam and Australia dropped their remaining matches to stay in contention. Only the Top 2 teams after the round-robin elimination will battle for the ASPAC championship and the World Series at stake in the regional competition.
The CNMI failed to bounce back from its opening loss as it faced the tough defense of Australia. The Aussies forced the Commonwealth players to 1-2-3 innings five times and the latter went to as far as third base only once. Leadoff batter Ace Evangelista made it to third at the bottom of the sixth after a walk, Australia’s passed ball, and an error, but was left stranded along with Jay Kalen at first as Dre Skerei and Tindin Leon Guerrero went down on a strikeout and a fly out, respectively, and Larson Sebatang followed suit off a 6-3 putout play.
While the CNMI was shut down for the sixth straight inning, Australia came out strong at the top of the sixth after going without a run in the fourth and fifth. The Aussies had five runs, adding to the two apiece they got in the first and third inning. The division leader went on to finish strong, making seven more runs at the top of the last inning, while forcing the CNMI to another 1-2-3 inning at the bottom.
Jayson Arthur was the winning pitcher, working the mound in 5.3 innings and giving up only two hits. He had six strikeouts and committed only one error.
On offense, Tim Lane and Jordan Barnett both went 2-for-4 at the plate, scored two RBIs, and combined for three runs. Jack Boyd and Jai Lyttleton also tallied two RBIs each with the former going 2-for-5 and the latter hitting 1-for-5. John Paul Caliu made only one RBI, but was 3-for-4 at bat and scored four runs.
The CNMI went 2 for-22 at the plate with the two hits coming from Kalen and Shakobe Rangar’s singles.