Defending champion CNMI will head to Guam instead of Palau for the 2nd Annual Micronesian Baseball Classic.
Saipan Baseball League official Tony Rogolifoi, who is coordinating the Commonwealth’s participation to MBC, told Saipan Tribune in a telephone interview yesterday that Palau pulled out from hosting the MBC due to the renovation at the Asahi Ballfield in Koror. Rogolifoi added that repair works at the baseball field will not be done in time for the proposed scheduled of the tournament (October).
“We have discussions with Bob Steffy of Baseball Confederation of Oceania and Guam decided to step in and host the MBC. Bob and other officials of Guam baseball will just need to wait for the Parks and Recreation’s permission to prepare the field for the tournament,” Rogolifoi said.
With the announcement of the new host country, the date of the competition has been moved to November. The tournament was originally scheduled last June, but was pushed to October to give Palau more time to prepare.
A month before the supposed opening of MBC, the CNMI announced its 19-player roster for the tournament. The list includes Henry Lizama Jr., Ben Jones Jr., Lamarc Iguel, Anthony Tenorio, Tyrone Omar, Joe Palacios, Giovanni Mira, Nathan Guerrero, Manny Cabrera, M.J. Sakisat, Richard Atalig, Jr., Virgil Secharmidal, Angel Palacios, Nathan Camacho, Jhace Palacios, Jesus Iguel, Jesse Brel, Ian Norita, and Jobe Reyes, who all saw action in the 2017 Saipan Baseball League which the BSI Aces won.
Rogolifoi said there will be changes in the original roster, as majority of the players will not be able to make it to Guam in November due to school and work commitments. The SBL official added that the selection process for the new lineup will be made later this month and they are hoping to tap the services of the players that will compete in the league’s U25 tournament.
The CNMI will have one team for now, but SBL is still considering having one more (possible a youth squad) if other countries will also have multiple entries. Kosrae and Palau will join the CNMI and Guam in this year’s MBC. Last year, a second team made up of youth players played in the MBC as a guest squad.
Rogolifoi also said that Guam’s hosting of the MBC will make the competition more interesting, as the CNMI’s longtime rival is raring to avenge its loss to the Commonwealth during the inaugural staging of the tournament last year.
Guam led the CNMI, 13-2, after four complete innings of the finale and was still on top, 14-9, at the bottom of the ninth inning when the latter made the mother of all comebacks and eked out an epic 15-14 victory in extra innings.
U25 meeting July 26, Masters July 27
Meanwhile, teams interested in joining SBL’s U25 league are requested to attend an organization meeting on July 26 at the conference room of the Gilvert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Entry fees, uniforms, ground rules, equipment, and other related matters will be discussed at the 5:30pm meeting. SBL is looking to open the league early next month.
The Masters Baseball League will also open in August and there will be a meeting for participating squads on July 27 at the same venue and time. Waiver forms will also be distributed at these meetings.
For more information, contact league director Rogolifoi or secretary Marlena Castro at 234-6672.