The CNMI Senior All-Stars snapped their two-game losing skid after beating the host Philippines, 6-1, yesterday in the 2016 Asia Pacific Regional Tournament at the Clark International Sports Complex in Pampanga.
Pitchers Ethan Babauta, Richard Atalig, and Shakobe Rangamar combined for a five-hitter to give the defending champions their first victory while handing the Philippines its second straight loss.
Babauta started out for the Commonwealth and yielded four hits in three innings pitched. His passed ball at the top of the third inning allowed PHL to score its first and only run in the match. Atalig relieved Babauta at the start of the fourth inning and worked the mound until the sixth, giving up only one hit. Rangamar finished the job for the CNMI and he did it quickly, as the hosts were called for a 1-2-3 inning at the top of the seventh.
The CNMI Senior All-Stars faced the Philippines after bowing to Guam, 7-12, and Australia, 0-16. Against the hosts, the visiting team hit the board first with Babauta’s single driving leadoff batter Virgial Secharmidal home at the bottom of the opening inning. Earlier at the top of the first, the CNMI’s defense forced the Philippines to a 1-2-3 inning.
In the second inning, neither team reached, while in the third, Secharmidal got his second run off the PHL’s error. The CNMI went on to add two more runs in the third with both Jay Kalen and Rangamar making it home off the hosts’ wild pitches, while Henry Aguon and Kimo Angailen recorded the last two runs for the visiting crew. Aguon reached off a fielder’s choice, while Angailen scored off the former’s RBI walk.
Meanwhile, the CNMI will take a rest today before facing Indonesia tomorrow for its last match in the round-robin competition. With the Commonwealth bets having a 1-2 record and Guam and Australia holdings similar 2-0 marks (pending results of the Australia vs Indonesia match yesterday afternoon), the defending champions are a long shot for the Top 2 spots in the five-team field.
The only way that the CNMI All-Stars could at least force a tie for the No. 2 spot after the elimination is for Guam to bow to Australia today and to the Philippines tomorrow. When these happen coupled with the CNMI and the Philippines’ victories over Indonesia, the defending champions, the hosts, and Guam will end up with identical 2-2 marks for a tie for second place behind the likely top finisher Australia.
The Top 2 finishers in the round-robin elimination will battle in the finals this Saturday with the winner getting a slot to the Senior League World Series, which will be played in Bangor, Maine from July 31 to Aug. 6.