GSM sweeps way to finals

A Go See Mark batter practices his swing before Game 2 of their semis series against the Mariners in the 2018 Saipan Baseball League last Thursday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Go See Mark finished off the Mariners with a 9-8 win in Game 2 of their semis series in the 2018 Saipan Baseball League last Thursday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.

The sweep in the short best-of-three semis allowed GSM to set up a finals showdown against pennant champions Chalan Kanoa Bears. The finals series between the Top 2 teams in the elimination round will be a best-of-five affair and will start next week.

Diego Camacho and Franco Nakamura combined for five of GSM’s total runs with the former registering the last one at the bottom of the eighth inning and giving the team enough cushion. Byron Kaipat, Kelvin Kapileo, Tom Camacho, and L.J. Sebaklim added one run apiece.

Diego Camacho reached off Kapileo’s RBI walk to hand GSM a 9-7 lead with only one out. GSM had a chance to increase its advantage, as it loaded the bases with just one out. Kapileo made it all the way to third, while Kaipat and Roy Celis were in second and first, respectively. However, Kapileo and Kaipat were left stranded, as the Mariners managed to pull a double play with Celis beaten to second and Sebaklim at first. Second baseman Shane Yamada threw to shortstop Pat Tenorio for the second out and the latter made the heave to first baseman Jon Villagomez for the third and last.

After the big defensive stop, the Mariners were off to a good start at the top of the ninth inning with Villagomez delivering a single and Tyler Flores walking. Ton Tenorio batted next and his single brought Villagomez home and moved the Mariners within one, while Flores advanced to second. Flores stayed there, as Nate Smith was struck out by closer Celis and Pat Tenorio flied out to center field. Then in the ensuing play with Shane Yamada letting go of Celis’ pitch, Flores went down on a pick-off with GSM relief catcher Nakamura throwing to third baseman Kapileo for the tag out and the end of the semis series.

The series started last week with GSM also recording a close victory in the opener, 8-6.

Then in Game 2, it was another tough battle with GSM taking a 3-1 lead after three complete innings. Nakamura and Diego Camacho reached off RBIs walks in the first inning and the former later hit a single that brought Ton Camacho home in the second. The Mariners’ lone run in the first three innings was courtesy of Yamada who scored off a passed ball. GSM starting pitcher Lorenzo Sebaklim had a 1-2-3 inning in the first and added three more strikeouts in the next two before the Mariners finally found their form in the fourth.

Ton Tenorio had a two-run single at the top of the fourth, while Pat Tenorio and K.J. Guerrero reached off Yamada’s sacrifice fly and Villagomez’s single, respectively. Herman Kintol recorded the fifth run for Mariners off a GSM error, as their team grabbed the lead, 6-3.

However, GSM quickly regained the upper hand with its own five-run surge at the bottom of the fourth. Diego Camacho had an RBI single and also scored off Kapileo’s single, while the three other runs came from a wild pitch, fielder’s choice, and passed ball for GSM’s 8-6 advantage.

The lead was trimmed down to one, 8-7, when Yamada scored off GSM’s error at the top of the fifth inning and the tally remained, as both teams went without a run for three straight innings. Lorenzo Sebalik shut down the Mariners, as he got four more strikeouts before being relieved by Celis late in the ninth inning.

Earlier at top of the eighth, GSM ended its silence and Camacho’s run eventually gave the squad the insurance, while the Mariners fell short in the homestretch to bow out of contention.

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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