Falcons clinch finals berth in U25


Members of the IPI Masters celebrate their third place finish after beating the Papa Bears, 19-2, in the Masters division of the Saipan Baseball League last Friday night at the Francisco M. Palacios Ballfield. (Jon Perez)

The Tanapag Falcons used a seven-run sixth inning in completing a come-from-behind 9-3 win against the IPI Pirates on Thursday night to clinch the first finals berth in the Saipan Baseball League Under-25 division last Thursday at the Francisco M. Palacios Ballfield.

The Falcons will play in the one-game finals on Friday against the winner of the other semifinals pairing between the GSM Cubs and the Blue Jays. The Cubs and Blue Jays will duel for the last finals ticket tomorrow and the loser will go up against the Pirates in the battle for third this Thursday.

Downm 3-2, entering the bottom of the sixth, Gerald Cabrera got on base on an error by Pirates third baseman T.J. Dela Cruz to lead things off for the Falcons. Ian Norita singled and Barry Sunumai reached first on another Pirates error, this time by second baseman Jobi Reyes. The Falcons then grabbed the lead, 4-3, on runs scored by Cabrera and Norita off Jay Kalen’s two-RBI single.

Sunumai, still with no out, added another run on a wild pitch, while Kalen reached home on an RBI credited to J.J. Lifoifoi, who later pushed the Falcons’ lead to 7-3 after scoring off a RBI double by Frankie Lifoifoi. Frankie was tagged out at the plate for the first out, while A.J. Evangelista, who also had a double, was caught heading to third.

Cabrera, in his second plate appearance in the sixth, had a two-RBI single, bringing Frankie Lieto and Peter Lieto home, while Norita struck out to end the inning.

Frankie Lieto tossed a complete game for the Falcons, giving up one earned run on seven hits. He fanned out seven and had no walks.

IPI Masters win
Ed Santos pitched a two-hit ball in a shortened game to help the IPI Masters coast to victory over the Papa Bears, 19-2, in their battle for third place in the Masters division.

Santos was almost unhittable on the mound, only giving up singles to Joe Celis and Emery Fitial in the top of the first and fourth inning, respectively. The lefty pitcher was tagged with two runs, both earned, while striking out four and walking four.

The Bears, on the other hand, used three pitchers with Nick Guerrero, Tom Camacho, and Benji Fitial alternating on the mound. All lasted an inning each.

Guerrero started for the Bears, giving up four runs—all earned—on three hits with no strikeouts, and three walks. Camacho allowed five ERs on three, hits while fanning two and walking four batters.

Benji Fitial came in at the bottom of the third and was tagged with three ERs on four hits, a strikeout, and a walk.

Phil Celis led IPI’s 10-hit game, going 3-for-3 with two runs, while John Acosta went 2-for-2, including a two-RBI single in a seven-run first inning. Former representative Ralph Yumul also went 2-for-2 with two runs, a double, and an RBI, while J.J. Cabrera had three RBIs, including a two-RBI triple in the second.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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