The battle for the pennant in the Major division of the 2017 Saipan Little League Baseball is now down to two teams—the Falcons and the Braves.
The Braves remained in contention for the pennant following a 9-7 victory over the Little Legals in a make-up game yesterday at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield. The Braves now have an 8-2 record for second place in the team standings behind the Talaabwogh Falcons, who kept the top spot and hold a 10-1 record after shutting down the Pirates 2 last Sunday, 12-0.
Patrick Celis made a grand slam at the bottom of the sixth inning to lift the Braves to the important win and eliminate the Little Legals in the fight for the pennant. The Little Legals dropped to third place with its 8-3 card with one game left in its schedule in the regular season.
The Braves and the Little Legals played only one and a half innings of their make-up game yesterday with the latter clinging to a 7-5 advantage before Celis came to the former’s rescue and frustrate their opponents.
The Little Legals, which came from a 17-3 demolition of the Ol’Aces last Sunday, took the upper hand in their April 23 match after Delbert Sablan hit a solo homer at the top of the fifth inning. Earlier in the first, Sablan had an RBI single and the Little Legals got one more earned run and two off a passed ball and the Braves’ error for a 4-0 advantage.
The Braves countered with three runs at the bottom of the first off Celis’ three-run homer and then grabbed the lead in the third after Tristan Norita drilled a two-run double. However, the Little Legals regained the driver’s seat at the top fourth inning off Dervance Diaz and Lucio Aldan’s RBI single each.
After the Little Legals reclaimed the lead, the game was suspended due to rain and when it resumed, the Braves managed to have the last say, thanks to Celis’ grand slam.
After the close victory, the Braves have two games left with their duel against the Falcons this Saturday to decide the winner of the pennant. If the Braves prevail and also top the Twins in their May 13 match, the former will tie the Falcons for the No. 1 spot and a playoff game will be scheduled to determine the pennant champion.
Meanwhile, only one playoff slot is left unoccupied as the Comets (6-3), Pirates-2 (6-4), McDonald’s (6-5), and Bank of Saipan (4-6) have joined the Falcons, Braves, and Little Legals to the next round. Pirates-1 (1-8), Docomo Ol’Aces (1-8), and the Twins (0-9) will battle for the last seat on the eight-team playoffs.
Pirates-1 and the Ol’Aces will collide in the second game on May 13, while also scheduled next Saturday is the Pirates-2 and Bank of Saipan tiff. Pirates-2 will also play this Saturday against the Little Legals after the Comets-McDonalds showdown in the second game. Then on Sunday, it will be the Ol’Aces versus Bank of Saipan in the first game and Comets against Twins in the second match.