Three years ago today, the Saipan Major All-Star Team proved to be too much for Rota as the hosts coasted to an 8-0 victory in their title game in the 2017 CNMI District Tournament at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield.
The win earned the Saipan Major All-Stars the right to represent the Commonwealth to the 2017 Asia Pacific Regional Championships.
Pitcher Delbert Sablan towed Saipan to the easy victory after throwing a no-no and striking out 15 batters. Sablan was so awesome on the mound that he forced Rota to 1-2-3 in the first, second, and fourth inning to end the one-sided finale after only five and a half innings.
On offense, Saipan scored all its eight runs at the bottom of the fifth inning. Joseph Ada and Eli Ray Castro gave Saipan its first two runs as they reached off Rota’s errors, while the six other runs came from Keoni Serrano’s two-RBI single, Kaipo Dikito’s RBI single, and Castro’s RBI double off his second at-bat.
Saipan was so dominant at the top of the fifth inning that it took Rota about 15 minutes to wrap up just that frame. In contrast, Sablan finished off Rota quickly at the top of the sixth inning, as he fanned out leadoff Landen Atalig and third batter Lucas Manglona. Second batter Tyric Castro grounded out at first for the second out.
The title win over Rota was Saipan’s third victory in the district meet as it also topped the visiting squad in their earlier game, 7-2. The hosts earlier prevailed over Tinian, 12-2, while Rota downed the latter, 13-3, to take the second finals seat.
However, Rota failed to get back at the Saipan Major All-Star Team, which then was named as the CNMI All-Stars and played in the 2017 Asia Pacific Regional Championships held at the HwaSeong Dream Park in Seoul, South Korea.
In the ASPAC, which serves as the World Series qualifier, the CNMI lost to Thailand and Hong Kong before beating Saudi Arabia. The squad then dropped its last match in the pool after bowing to Guam.