GSM upsets Boleros in Masters finals


GSM Masters players and officials pose at home plate after beating the pennant champions Boleros in their one-game finals match in the Masters division of the 2017 Saipan Baseball League last Monday night at the Francisco M. Palacios Ballfield. (Jon Perez)

Bill Camacho, Zack Igisomar, and Walter Macaranas drove in three runs each, while Pete Sablan closed out the game as the GSM Masters completed a 22-16 upset of the top-seeded Boleros in the 2017 Saipan Baseball League’s Masters division finals last Monday night at the Francisco M. Palacios Ballfield

The Boleros were undefeated after 12 games in the regular season and dispatched the Papa Bears in their semifinal showdown to earn the first finals berth. However, the killer instinct and dominating form they showed in the elimination round were missing in their close to four- hour title match against the persistent GSM side.

Camacho scored twice and had a two-RBI single in GSM’s seven-run eighth inning that seemed to snuff the fight out of the Boleros. Igisomar went 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs and a two-RBI double at the top of the fourth, while Macaranas hit 3-for-3 and reached home twice.

Sablan headed to the mound at the bottom of the seventh and thwarted the Boleros’ attempts to steal the win. He gave up an earned run to Joe Fleming, who scored on a Justin Reyes RBI single, on two hits while striking out three batters and walking two.

Fleming, with two outs after Ben Tagabuel grounded to second and John Taitano was struck out swinging, doubled against Sablan’s first pitch in the eighth, finding a gap between the center and right fields. Reyes then moved to second on a Sablan wild pitch, but the GSM pitcher foiled the Boleros’ comeback bid when he threw his fourth pitch and David Kapileo struck out swinging.

The GSM defense, with one out after Sablan retired George Fleming, also provided a highlight play at the bottom of the seventh with an inning-ending double play courtesy of Igisomar’s catch at left field off a shot from Steve Igisaiar. Igisomar made the throw to third baseman Ben Hocog, who then caught pinch runner Alvin Takei. Takei pinched ran for Mark Toves, who walked and stole second.

After the win, Sablan said that he just focused on getting the strikeouts and trusted their defense in case the Boleros managed to hit his throws.

“I’m just trying my best to get every batter out so we could end the game. My goal was to get the first strikeout and go from there. My goal was not to give them a hit and the chance to score.”

Flores pitched four innings in relief for GSM, surrendering seven runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout. Starter Joe Terlaje lasted two innings and was tagged with five runs on six hits while fanning one batter and walking two.

Before GSM stole the driver’s seat, the then unbeaten Boleros seemed headed for an easy win after posting a 12-7 lead, heading into the top of the fourth. However, GSM’s offense went in full swing in that inning as it scored seven runs, highlighted by Igisomar’s two-RBI double. GSM was in control after that to hand the Boleros a sorry loss.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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