The Cubs and Falcons will close out the 2017 Saipan Baseball League tomorrow, while the new season is just around the corner as SBL eyes a Feb. 5 opening at the Francisco M. Palacios Ballfield.
The Cubs earned the right to face the Falcons in the finals after completing a 12-2 demolition of the Blue Jays in their semifinal game last Tuesday night. The Falcons moved into the title game first after downing the Pirates, 9-3. The division finals is set for tomorrow at 6:30pm.
Meanwhile, eight teams will try to stop the Aces’ title defense bid when SBL kicks off its 2018 season tentatively on Feb. 5
The Aces, backed by Best Sunshine Inc., won last year’s crown after a 2-1 decision over the Falcons in Game 4 of the best-of-five championship series. They won Games 1 (9-3) and 3 (13-9), while the Falcons clinched Game 2, 12-8.
Player/coach Luis Iguel is expected to field the same roster for the defending champions that also have his brothers Lamarc, Juan, Jesus, and Mike. Ben Jones, Manny Cabrera, Barry Sunumai, Angel Falig, John Tudela, Peter Tenorio, Nokki Saralu, and Dave Camacho were the other members of last year’s winning squad.
The Natibu Sports Association-sponsored Falcons will be returning to try to get the title this time and will be joined by 2016 champions C.K. Bears, who are supported by Rep. J.P. Sablan (R-Saipan). Doru Camacho and Henry Lizama will manage the Falcons and Bears, respectively. The D9ers (Saipan Stevedores), Blue Jays (Tan Siu Lin Foundation), Go See Mark (Mark Sablan), Titanium (Senate President Arnold I. Palacios), Outlaws (Manny Salas), and Mariners (Shine Tenorio) are the other competing teams.
John Tenorio, Froilan Camacho, A.J. Murig, Bernard Cabrera, Ed Cepeda, and Shine Tenorio are the managers of the other squads.
SBL coordinator Tony Rogolifoi said they limited the number of teams to nine to avoid conflicts with the schedule.
“We have all the waiver forms and ground rules in place for this season. So, we’re calling all the teams to get organized. The ideal number is eight, but we accommodated one more to keep the season competitive. As much as possible, we want the games to be competitive to also develop younger players,” Rogolifoi said. Players 17 years old and above are allowed to compete in the upcoming season.
Rogolifoi added that they may temporarily suspend the matches to give way to the 2018 Micronesian Games in Yap.
“We’re going to try to finish the season but if not, we’re going to stop the games for the Micro Games. We’re going to select the players who would suit up for the CNMI and they will be needing some time to practice to prepare for the Micro Games,” the SBL official said.
In other news, Rogolifoi will be heading to Tinian later this month to conduct a baseball coaches and umpires certification course sanctioned by the Baseball Confederation of Oceania. The course is set from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2.
For more information on the BCO certification courses, call Rogolifoi at 234-6672.