The Braves’ success in the Saipan Little League Baseball was made possible by the ability of their players to play multiple positions and still excel whether they play infield or out, take the mound, or the plate.
The Lieto brothers, Peter and Frankie, and Alfonso Evangelista, are among the Braves’ reliable hands regardless of where you placed them at the ballfield.
“Utility is one word to describe Alfonso Evangelista or A.J. A.J.’s Little League career has taken him to multiple World Series trips. A true infielder, A.J. can play in multiple positions with confidence. If he is not at shortstop, he can be on second base, or even play catcher,” Braves manager George N. Camacho said.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Management System staff, according to Camacho, is also very intimidating when he steps on the mound.
Peter was another threat to the opposing team when he’s pitching for the Braves. He hurled for the CNMI National Team that won the gold medal in the inaugural Micronesian Baseball Classic in 2016.
The older Lieto, who is an officer with the Department of Corrections, was also utilized by the Braves both in the infield and out, while his jovial personality endeared him to his co-players and even opponents, and the program’s volunteers.
“Peter knew everyone, players and adult volunteers, and everyone knew Peter. You can have confidence whenever he is playing for your team,” Camacho said.
Though he idolized his older brother and they played together, Frankie managed to step out of the shadow of Peter.
“Frankie has always looked up to Peter, but developed his own game. Frankie captured the batting title in the Little League and was a regular all-star. He is a solid third baseman, incredible as a catcher, and always dangerous on the mound,” Camacho said.
“He’s a workhorse. Frankie will play hard, throw hard, and outlast anyone on the field. If you are playing the next day, you can count on Frankie to be ready and available again,” the Braves official said.
Natural talent; fastball expert
Lamarc Iguel and John Tudela complete Camacho’s Top 10 Braves players who made their marks in the Little League.
Camacho hailed Iguel’s natural athletic talent, having come from a family of multi-sports athletes.
“He makes baseball look easy. He’s so fluid and smooth in his position at shortstop. Lamarc is also an amazing infielder and fierce on the mound,” Camacho said.
Another go-to guy on the mound for the Braves was Tudela.
“He is an amazing lefty that strikes fear in batters he faced. John’s command on the mound and his fastball is almost unparalleled to none,” the Braves manager said.
If given a chance, Camacho would need a long list to name Braves players who made significant contributions to the team’s success in the Little League program.
“Obviously, there are many more players that have come and left the Little League program, each have their own accomplishments on the field. Additionally, these fine gentlemen have greater accomplishments as valuable contributing members of our community. If I can, I do want to thank all the Braves players, past and present, and more importantly a great thank you to all the parents and volunteers. It has been a wonderful journey for us and yet we have many more up-and-coming kids that are still in the Little League. It is our hope that we mold these kids into becoming great adults,” Camacho said.
This season, the Braves are supposed to play in the Minor, Majors, and Junior League divisions. If the 2020 competition pushes through, the Braves are encouraging Little League fans to watch up for Antonio Norita, Heath Camacho, Jylon Sablan, and Joel Borja.