CNMI beats Palau, gets top seeding


The CNMI’s Byron Kaipat gets ready at first base, while a Palau runner prepares to run to second during the top of the sixth inning of their game in the Inaugural Micronesian Baseball Classic yesterday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The CNMI All-Stars swept the round-robin preliminary games in the Inaugural Micronesian Baseball Classic after easing past Palau, 12-1, yesterday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.

The home team took its third win in as many games after only six and a half innings via 10-run mercy rule. With its perfect record, the CNMI finished on top of the team standings and will need to win only once against the second finisher in the field tomorrow to advance to Friday’s finale. The No. 2 placer in the four-nation competition has yet to be determined at press time as Kosrae (0-2) and Guam (1-1) were scheduled to play in the final round-robin match last night. A Kosrae upset would force a three-way tie for second to fourth place with Palau joining the deadlock with its 1-2 card.

Mike Iguel and Joe Palacios pitched for the Commonwealth and allowed only five hits. With the two pitchers playing steady, Palau scored only in the second inning with Reynold Sadang reaching home off Keith Inawo’s single. The rest of Palau’s runners made it no past second base as the CNMI’s defense was on point in the majority of the game.

On offense, the Henry Lizama-managed squad drew a good game from Lamarc Iguel, who went 2-for-3 at bat and had three RBIs. Lamarc’s three-run triple at the bottom of the third inning lifted the CNMI to a promising 9-1 advantage. The host team got two more runs in the third after Anthony Tenorio’s single drove Henry Lizama Jr. home and Lamarc also reached off Palau’s error at first base.

Earlier in the second, the CNMI collected four runs to make up for its poor start. The Commonwealth bets had a 1-2-3 inning at the bottom of the first before Lamarc and Pay Alepuyo each hit an RBI single and Brian Camacho reached home off Juan Iguel’s sacrifice fly at centerfield in the second. Alepuyo was also on target in the fourth inning, blasting a two-run double to give the CNMI the double-digit lead, 12-1. Nokki Saralu scored the first run in the fourth, courtesy of Juan Iguel’s double.

The Commonwealth players had 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and sixth, but that did not affect the team’s chances against Palau, as the latter continued to struggle in the remainder of the game. The home squad capped the one-sided match in style with a double play at first and second base.

Palau 5, Kosrae 1
Before bowing to the CNMI, Palau barged into the win column last Monday afternoon after downing Kosrae.

Avery Amos pitched in no relief for Palau and gave up six hits in nine innings, while striking out five batters and allowing no earned run.

Kosrae scored its only run in the fifth inning with Reggie Skilling making it home off Palau’s miscue at second base.

Palau, on the other hand, tallied two runs each in the fourth and fifth inning and added one in the sixth. Isimang Smus and Herman Alfonso each had RBI single in the fourth and fifth, respectively, while Lantz Ngiramengior connected an RBI double also in the fifth. Alfonso and Smus recorded Palau’s two other runs off Kosrae’s defensive lapses.

CNMI 19, CNMI Junior Nationals 5
In last Monday’s night game, the CNMI All-Stars clobbered the Junior Nationals.

The winning squad opened a double-digit lead, 11-1, just three innings into the game. Peter Tomokane started things out for the CNMI, as he hit a two-run single in the second inning. Pat Alepuyo and Giovanni Mira added an RBI double and RBI single, respectively, in the same frame, and the former also scored off an error from Junior Nationals pitcher M.J. Sakisat.

The CNMI kept going with a six-run top of the third inning, highlighted by Juan Iguel’s two-run single. The selection then failed to score in the fourth, but came out smoking in the fifth, tallying seven runs to complete the breakaway. The Junior Nationals cut the deficit to a decent number after collecting two runs each in the last two innings.

The Junior Nationals, who are composed of the CNMI Big League All-Stars, are guest participants in the tournament and results of their games are not counted in the team standings.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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