Falcons stun Top 2 teams


A Talaabwogh Falcons player attempts to tag out the Kagman Little Legals’ Jared Muna during their first meeting in the Majors division of the 2019 Saipan Little League Baseball at the Capitol Hill Ballfield. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The Talaabwogh Falcons swept their weekend assignments in the Majors division of the 2019 Saipan Little League Baseball after pulling the rug under the Top 2 squads in the group.

The Falcons started the second of the two-round robin regular season with an 8-2 upset over the then undefeated Kagman Little Legals last Saturday at the Capitol Hill Ballfield. Then yesterday, the Falcons returned to the field and eked out an 8-7 victory over the second-running McDonald’s.

Against the Little Legals, who had a 5-0 record in the first round, starting pitcher Noah Cruz gave up only three hits and two earned runs to hold down their favored opponents and avenge the Falcons’ 3-7 loss to the defending champions in their first meeting.

The Little Legals got their two runs at the top of the first inning with shortstop Albert Adriano blasting a single and driving in Santiago Seman. Adriano also reached off Greg Perez’s triple.

That was it for the Little Legals, as the Falcons took over and Cruz was steady on the mound in the next 4.1 innings. The Falcons countered with a five-run bottom of the first to grab the lead and never looked back.

Achilles Evangelista, Xavier Magofna, and Vinnie Sablan each had RBI singles, while Andre Iguel scored off a fielder’s choice and the Falcons fifth run came from the Little Legals error.

The Falcons kept the upper hand despite failing to score in the second and third inning, as Noah Cruz also silenced the Little Legals. The Falcons pitcher, after fanning two batters in the first inning, recorded eight more strikes before Iguel relieved him late at the top of the sixth and last inning.

With Cruz on the mound, the Little Legals were in a scoring position only once with Jesus Norita on third base, but was stranded along with Ryan Dela Cruz at first after the Falcons ace struck out Brandon Babauta to end the top of the fourth inning.

At the bottom fourth, Iguel’s double drove in Cruz and gave the Falcons a 6-2 advantage, while Evangelista also hit an RBI double in the fifth inning to widen the lead. The Falcons bagged another run in the fifth inning, with Matt Tomokane reaching off a fielder’s choice.

With the Falcons adding two more runs in the penultimate inning, the Little Legals must make at last six runs at the top of the last to extend the game. Greg Perez led off for the defending champion and walked, while Noah Cruz fanned Jesus Norita before getting back to the dugout for Iguel, who got the second strikeout after downing Jared Muna. The Falcons went on to get the final out in the ensuing play with Dela Cruz beaten to first.

Meanwhile, the Falcons rode on the momentum of their victory over the Little Legals to edge McDonald’s in yesterday’s match.

In the other game last Sunday in the Majors division, the Little Legals got a free win after the NSA Braves could not come up with enough players for the curtain-raiser. The Little Legals are still on top of the six-team field with their 6-1 record, followed by McDonalds’s (4-2), Falcons (4-3), Comets (4-3), Braves (1-6), and JZ Twins (0-6).

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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