Falcons clinch first finals berth

The Talaabwogh Falcons pitcher hurls to a Comets batter during their Junior League division game in the 2017 Saipan Little League Baseball last week at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The Talaabwogh Falcons reasserted their might against the Comets, coasting to a 10-0 victory and taking the first finals seat in the Junior League division of the 2017 Saipan Little League Baseball last Saturday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.

The Falcons, who beat the Comets in the battle for the division pennant early this month, earned the win after only five innings via 10-run mercy rule.

Joel Norita towed the Falcons to the shutout victory as he threw a three-hitter in five innings and recorded five strikeouts. The Falcons ace also scored one run at the bottom of the third inning when his team made five more runs to widen the gap and set up the win two innings earlier.

The Falcons were only ahead by one, 1-0, going into the bottom of the third. Joel Gildilak led off for the Falcons, singled, and stole home, while Norita gave the squad their second run off a fielder’s choice. Zack Reyes was next to reach off a Comets’ wild pitch, while a two-RBI single from Isaiah Teigita upped their advantage to 6-1. Teigita added one more run off another Comets’ defensive miscue before the latter got the third out when relief pitcher Sab Saures struck out Gildilak to end the inning.

Earlier at the top of the third, the Comets had runners stranded at second and first when Norita struck out Bing Nakamura. The Comets’ first two batters in the third were booted out on a 1-3 and 2-6 plays. In the second inning, A.J. Sanchez was in scoring position with one out, but remained at third when the next two batters went down. In the first, the Comets had a slim chance to hit the board when Norita fanned out Zeph Limes and Reid Teregeyo and Nakamura flied out to second base.

The Comets’ misfortunes continued in the fourth inning as they were done after only three batters, while the Falcons added two more runs off a wild pitch and the former’s error at home plate for a 9-0 advantage and a step closer to the finals. The pennant champions went on to seal a slot to this weekend’s title match as they frustrated the Comets anew at the top of the fifth inning and Aven Evangelista gave the Falcons their 10th run at the bottom off a stolen base. The Comets failed to score in the fifth inning despite having pinch-runner Limes at third base with two outs as Justin Magofna was beaten to first base for the third out.

The Comets and the Falcons fought for the first finals berth in the Junior League division after finishing in the Top 2 in the regular season. While the Falcons advanced, the Comets were relegated to the loser’s bracket and were scheduled to meet the winner of the Braves-Enforcers playoff game for the second and last finals ticket last Sunday. Results of neither matches were unavailable at press time and will be reported once the score sheets are obtained from league officials.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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