Comets I is assured of a playoff stint in the Major division of the 2014 Saipan Little League Baseball, following a 7-6 win over the IP&E Rockies last Saturday at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield.
Comets I improved to a 10-3 record with one game left in the regular season of the 15-team field, joining the Falcons (11-2), IT&E (12-2), and the Braves (11-2) in the playoffs. The Rockies fell to a 6-7 slate and are battling five other teams—Laolao Bay (7-5), JPO Enforcers (8-4), Little Legals (8-5), McDonald’s (6-7), and the Hustlers (7-8)—for the four remaining playoff tickets. Standings are not yet official and were made after last Sunday’s matches.
Francisco Frederick got two straight strikeouts and also played a crucial role in the third out at the bottom of the sixth inning to help Comets I nose out IP&E.
The bottom of the sixth inning began with Comets I starting pitcher Jessie Taitano walking leadoff batter Elijah Lizama, who went on to advance to second and third off passed balls. Taitano was then relieved by Frederick, who struck out the Rockies’ next two batters before walking fourth batter Laterel Deleon Guerrero. Keoni Lizama was next at bat for the Rockies and was booted out on a 1-3 putout play, saving Comets I’s one-run win.
IP&E threatened Comets I, 6-7, when Dai Podziewski scored off an error at centerfield at the bottom of the fifth inning and Comets I went 1-2-3 on a double play at the top of the last inning.
Comets I was without a run in the last three innings, but its five-run top of the first gave the team cushion. Taitano blasted a two-run double in the first inning, while Sebastian Saures and Niffton Rasiong hit RBI singles, and the other run came off a miscue at third base.
A one-run homer from Tyrese Camacho, Podziewski’s RBI single, and Brandon Delos Reyes’ run off an error at first base kept IP&E in the game, 4-5, and the latter remained in contention in the next four innings before Frederick stepped up on defense and saved the day for Comets I.
Enforcers 8, Red Sox 6
The JPO Enforcers boosted their playoff chances after slipping past the Red Sox in the third and final game last Saturday.
The Enforcers won the exchanged in the first four innings and shut out the Red Sox in the last two for the close win. Peter Litulimar contributed two RBIs and two runs in the four innings, hitting a single and triple in the second and fourth inning, respectively. The Enforcers got two more earned runs.
The Red Sox had more earned runs (5), but failed to steal the win after moving within two runs, as they struggled against relief pitcher Dennis Cabrera. Cabrera got two quick outs at the top of the fifth off a strikeout and a 1-3 putout play and after walking the Red Sox third batter, he got the third out off another strikeout. Cabrera then struck out the Red Sox’ first two batters at the top of the sixth and the inning and the match ended when Joven Reyes was beaten to first.
Meanwhile, the Braves and McDonald’s played in the second game last Saturday with the latter putting the former’s 6-5 win under protest. McDonald’s contested one of the umpire’s fair ball calls on the Braves at the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Braves scored one run off a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning to have more breathing room, 4-2, and foiled the Red Sox’s comeback bid when relief pitcher Vicente Camacho got two strikeouts and left one McDonald’s runner stranded at first.
McDonald’s earlier had a sacrifice out.