MBC this year unlikely

Posted on Jul 16 2020


In this 2016 file photo, the CNMI’s Peter Lieto delivers a pitch during the top of the seventh inning of their game against Guam in the Inaugural Micronesian Baseball Classic at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (Saipan Tribune)

The 4th Micronesian Baseball Classic is unlikely to be held this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saipan Baseball League official Tony Rogolifoi said that this year’s MBC was supposed to take place this month in Pohnpei, but obviously the competition had to be postponed with COVID-19 still a threat in the region.

Rogolifoi added that MBC may not be held this year due to the uncertainties that the pandemic has created and they have to discuss the new schedule with the participating countries and the Baseball Confederation Oceania, which oversees competition for 14 nations, including the CNMI, Palau, Guam, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

The inaugural MBC took place on Saipan in 2016 with the CNMI All-Stars pulling off a thrilling 15-14 victory over Guam after an extra inning. Then in 2017, Palau was slated to host the second edition of the regional tournament, but Guam had to step in, as the former had issues with its facilities. Guam went on to take the 2017 crown after dominating Palau in the finals, 11-1, and the former made it back-to-back after topping the CNMI in the title game of the third MBC, 8-3, held early this year.

No MBC was held in 2018 because teams competed in the Micronesian Games in Yap, while the third edition was originally slated for Oct. 2019, but was moved to January this year due to scheduling challenges among the participating teams.

Meanwhile, Rogolifoi said that local baseball will continue be on a wait-and-see mode.

“We will wait until the government says it’s all clear. Baseball is a team and contact sports so we don’t want to put our players and officials at risk. As soon as we get clearance from authorities, we will make plans and announcements regarding tournaments and other activities,” Rogolifoi said.

He added that they will get in touch with World Baseball Softball Confederation and Baseball Confederation Oceania for guidelines on resumption of games once this pandemic is over.

“I know people are excited to get back to the field, but we need to stay put for everyone’s safety,” the SBL official added.

The last time CNMI players swung their bats was late January when the Commonwealth bets saw action in the World Baseball Softball Confederation 15-Under Oceania Qualifier in Guam. The visiting squad lost all its six matches, bowing to Guam and New Zealand.

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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