Flashback: Upset in Big League


In this April 22, 2014 file photo, Fielders players and coach Patrick Tenorio huddle before returning to the field for the bottom of the sixth inning of their playoff game against the Braves in the Big League division of the 2014 Saipan Little League Baseball at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (Saipan Tribune)

Six years ago, on April 22, the Fielders played a spoiler role in the highly anticipated finals showdown between the Braves and the Padres in the Big League division of the 2014 Saipan Little League Baseball

The Fielders pulled off a 5-4 victory over the Braves to clinch the second and last finals berth. The Braves, before the heartbreaker, won the season pennant and were highly favored to march into the championship game against the Padres.

However, the Fielders got into the board first in the rubber match and preserved the shaky lead in the homestretch by getting the needed defensive stops.

A two-run single from Javon Borja plus Khobby Kaipat’s RBI single, Davin Ada’s sacrifice fly, and Fermin Renguul’s stolen base at the top of the fourth inning gave the Fielders a 5-0 lead. Ray Saralu’s two-RBI single at the bottom of the fourth, Jeremy Atalig’s RBI single in the fifth, and Frankie Norita’s RBI triple in the sixth moved the Braves within one.

The Braves had a chance to tie the match in the seventh and last inning when Atalig hit his target and the ball landed in between first and second base, but Renguul picked it up and threw to first for the third out, ending the Braves’ hopes for a season sweep.

Despite its gritty victory over the Braves, the Fielders failed to complete their title run in the Big League division, as the Padres won their finals showdown, 7-1.

The Fielders, however, went on to take the division crown that eluded them in 2014 after another thrilling 6-5 finals win over the Braves the following year.

In 2016, neither the Fielders nor the Braves made it to the finals, which saw the Yankees beating the Islanders, 8-2, for the last Big League championship in the competition.

The Big League program, which is for players in the 16 to 18 age group, was discontinued by the Little League Headquarters in Williamsports after the 2016 World Series.

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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