Game 1 of the remaining semis series in the 2018 Saipan Baseball League belonged to Go See Mark after all.
The opener of the best-of-three affair was re-played last Wednesday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield with GSM rallying for an 8-6 victory over the Mariners. Game 1 originally took place last Monday with GSM winning, 14-10, but the Mariners placed the match under protest after the former used a wrong player at leftfield. League organizers discussed the protest and decided to re-play the whole match, instead of just starting it at the bottom of the seventh when GSM committed the violation and it was ahead, 12-7.
GSM went on to still take the opener, thanks to a six-run top of the ninth inning.
The last inning began with GSM staring a 2-6 deficit. The No. 2 seed then moved within one, 5-6, as three of its first four batters at the top of the order reached. Lorenzo Sebaklim scored off a fielder’s choice and pinch-runner Tom Camacho and Manny Sablan on walks. Franco Nakamura was one of the only three GSM batter who missed rounding the bases, but he made the big hit in the pivotal inning, blasting a double that brought Vince Cepeda and Diego Camacho home. Earlier, Kevin Kapileo stole home to tie the match, 6-6.
The Mariners got majority of their runs at the bottom of the sixth, posting three earned and one each off a passed ball and wild pitch. The other run was recorded in the seventh inning with Jerry Kintol reaching off a passed ball to give the Mariners a 6-2 advantage.
GSM recorded the two runs in the third inning with Nakamura scoring off a wild pitch and Sebaklim from the Mariners’ error. Down, but definitely not out, GSM made the move at the top of the ninth and stole the driver’s seat. GSM then completed the com-from-behind win after forcing the Mariners to 1-2-3 at the bottom of the last inning. Closer Roy Celis struck out leadoff batter Herman Kintol, while K.J. Deleon Guerrero went down on a 5-3 putout play, and Jerry Kintol was called for the final out, as Byron Kaipat beat him to the bag after the latter caught a pass from Celis.
With GSM stealing Game 1, it had a chance to close out the short series last night, while the Mariners were in a must win situation yesterday. Victor of the GSM-Mariners showdown will face the Chalan Kanoa Bears in a best-of-five title series. The Bears made it to the finals after sweeping and dethroning the Aces.