Defending champion Kagman Enforcers and the Falcons prevailed in the opening week games in the Senior League division of the 2016 Saipan Little League Baseball.
The Enforcers outclassed the Red Sox, 9-6, last Saturday at Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield, while the Falcons shut down the Comets, 4-0, last Sunday.
The Enforcers used a six-run bottom of the fourth inning to build enough cushion and withstood the Red Sox’s rally at the top of the seventh to start their title defense bid on a positive note.
The Enforcers were only ahead by one, 2-1, after two and a half innings when they scored six runs at the bottom of the third to gain some distance against the Red Sox. Shakobe Rangamar hit a two-RBI single, and Jimboy Laniyo had a two-RBI double in that run, while Dominic Yumul made an RBI single for an 8-1 advantage.
The Red Sox got their first run from Nathan Anson, who scored the first homer in the division at the top of the third. He also delivered a two-RBI single in the fifth to move the Red Sox within 5, 3-8, before Rangamar stole home in the sixth for a 9-3 lead.
Anson remained on target, unloading another two-RBI single at the top of the seventh, while Christian Lizama had an RBI single to bring the deficit down to three, with two outs. However, the Red Sox fell short in their comeback bid, as a 6-3 putout play against Andres Camacho stranded the team’s three runners and wrapped up the match in favor of the Enforcers.
In the other Senior League game over the weekend, the Falcons blanked the Comets, thanks to the steady pitching of starter Kekuni Kaainoa and his reliever Jun Atalig and the defense of their fielders.
Kaainoa pitched four innings, allowing only one hit, walking one, and striking four. Atalig had five strikeouts, including a 1-2-3 at the top of the seventh inning. The Falcons infielders and outfielders combined for seven fly outs and with their defense holding on, the Comets made it to as far as third base only once.
On offense, Jay Kalen gave the Falcons a 3-0 advantage off his two-RBI single at the bottom of the second. The other run was scored by Kimo Angailen off an error from the Comets, while the Falcons got one more run in the fourth inning off Kaainoa’s RBI double.
Enforcers 5, Red Sox 4
The Enforcers were also victorious in the Junior League game last Sunday after nipping the Red Sox.
Ignacio Mendiola made the game-winning hit as his single drove Chris Achas home and broke the deadlock at the bottom of the seventh inning. Before Mendiola’s shot came, the Enforcers were already called for two outs.
It was a come-from-behind win for the Enforcers as they entered the bottom of the seven staring a 3-4 deficit. A run from leadoff batter Pedro Maratita off a Red Sox error at third base tied the match and the standoff remained as the Enforcers’ next two batters were beaten to first base. Achas was next at bat and moved to first off a Red Sox error and eventually made it home, thanks to Mendiola’s single.