On this day, four years ago, the Chalan Kanoa Bears swept the first round of the regular season competition in the Saipan Baseball League.
The Bears topped the Falcons, 11-8, to earn a 7-0 record in the opening round of the two-round robin elimination. It was a come-from-behind victory for the Bears, as they foiled the Falcons’ bid to end their winning streak.
The Falcons took a 7-3 lead in the first six innings of the match, but the Bears rallied with a seven-run top of the seventh and then held the former to one run in the last three innings to keep their unblemished record.
The Bears went on to sweep the regular season, as they picked up where they left off, winning all their seven matches in the second round.
Fittingly, the Henry Lizama-managed Bears also prevailed in the finals. They were paired against the BSI Aces and wrapped up the best-of-five title series early with a 5-4 win in Game 3. The first two games in the championship showdown were also tightly contested with the Bears topping Game 1, 4-2, and Game 2, 4-3. In Game 3, Marvin Kaipat made the title-winning hit, as his single to the deep leftfield brought home Peyton Lizama at the bottom of the ninth inning.
After their 2016 finals win, the Bears lost the championship the following year (BSI won against the Falcons in the 2017 finals), but came back strong, clinching the 2018 and 2019 crowns.
This year, the Bears are aiming for a three-peat, as they hope SBL will hold its 2020 season competition later when it’s safe to play.