The Talaabwogh Falcons outsteadied the Comets in the homestretch to pull off a 3-0 win in their title game in the Senior League division of the 2016 Saipan Little League Baseball yesterday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
Rich Atalig pitched the Falcons to the finals win, as he worked the mound without relief in seven innings, allowed only four hits, and struck out seven. He was also instrumental in the game’s last out that served as a perfect ending to the Falcons’ domination in the Senior League.
The Falcons pitcher picked up the ball leftfielder Kobe Lifoifoi threw and then lobbed it to the waiting hands of catcher Don Fejeran, who tagged out Kody Omengkar. The big defensive stop came after the Falcons failed to field a single from N-nes Siech, whose shot headed just about in between the first and second base. Second baseman Jay Kalen stretched to catch the ball, but missed it. Lifoifoi then moved in and picked it up, but his throw intended to home plate was short. Atalig, who saw Omengkar sprinting from third base, got the ball and then lobbed it to Fejeran for the tag out at the top of the seventh inning.
Earlier at the bottom of the sixth, an RBI single from Kekuni Kainoa broke the Falcons’ silence. Kainoa also reached off Fejeran’s RBI single, while Ace Evangelista scored from the Comets’ error for the 3-0 lead, going into the final inning.
In the last inning, the Comets were called for the two quick outs with Austin Indalecio going down on a 5-3 play and Atalig fanning out Kody Babauta. With the Falcons closing in to the championship, the Comets got a breather in the ensuing play, as Omengkar advanced after third baseman Henry Aguon fumbled and was too late for a throw to first base. Omengkar went on to move to second off Atalig’s passed ball and then ran to third after Siech’s shot before gambling on sprinting home and paying the price as he was tagged out by Fejeran.
The championship loss against the Falcons was the Comets’ second game in two days as they dueled the Enforcers last Saturday and won, 9-3, to take the second and last finals ticket. The Falcons also defeated the Enforcers last week to advance to the finals first.
In the winner-take-all title match, neither team was willing to give in, as no squad managed to hit the board in the first five innings. The Comets had their best chance to score at the top of the third when Aurel Mendiola singled, made it to second off the Falcons’ error, and stole third with two outs. However, he was left stranded when Ethan Babauta flied out at shortstop.
The Falcons, on the other handed, reached third base three times in the first five innings, but were repeatedly frustrated by the Comets defense and Mendiola, who pitched in 6.3 innings before being relieved by Babauta late in the game. Mendiola had five strike outs, walked two, and allowed only two hits.
The Falcons then ended their silence with a three-run bottom of the sixth and held their ground on defense in the seventh for the fitting finale.