Peyton walk-off lifts Cubs


GSM Cubs players, officials, and supporters celebrate the team’s victory against the Tanapag Falcons, 9-8, in the 2017 Saipan Baseball League’s Under 25 finals last Friday night at the Francisco M. Palacios Ballfield. (Jon Perez)

How many Lizamas it took the GSM Cubs to win a championship?

Three. A catcher that drove in the winning run, a regular season most valuable player, and a starting pitcher that held his own against the Tanapag Falcons’ heavy hitters.

Peyton Lizama’s walk-off hit brought in Keoni Kaipat and lifted the Cubs to a thrilling 9-8 win over the Falcons in the one-game finals in the 2017 Saipan Baseball League’s Under 25 division last Friday night at the Francisco M. Palacios Ballfield.

Peyton Lizama, with one out and the bases loaded, took J.J. Lifoifoi’s second pitch to deep center field, while Kaipat, who was 90 feet away from home plate, was hurriedly directed by team manager A.J. Murig to run home.

Before the dagger, Lifoifoi’s first pitch to Peyton Lizama was a ball, while the latter saw the second as an easy hit so he swung away.

“I know that I’m ahead against him [Lifoifoi]. The bases were loaded and there was only one out. The winning run was just at third base. If ever I won’t get a hit, there’s still A.J. [Lizama] and Rick [Dela Cruz] behind me, but I saw the pitch was my kind of ball so I swung away. I was only looking for a sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly,” Peyton said.

That single was Peyton Lizama’s lone hit in the game, as he had three fly outs earlier and grounded out to third in his second at bat. Peyton played with his brothers Kiku, the division’s regular season MVP, and A.J., and also had their cousins Jose and Henry Lizama on the squad.

The score was tied at 8-all, after closer Joe Palacios had a 1-2-3 inning against the Falcons at the top of the seventh. Kaipat then led off with a single against Lifoifoi and later moved to second on a throwing error by Falcons catcher Barry Sunumai.

Lifoifoi caught Joe Palacios with an empty swing for the first out, but gave up another single to Angel Palacios and then intentionally walked Kiku Lizama to load the bases for the Cubs, who were supported by GSM, Geri Dela Cruz, and Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan).

Peyton Lizama then played the heroes role, as Kaipat was greeted by his celebrating teammates at home plate, while Cubs’ fans watching near right field lit the cloudless sky with fireworks.

Kaipat went 3-for-4, all singles, with two runs and an RBI. Jose Lizama lasted three innings, allowing five runs on five hits with two strikeouts and four walks, while also forcing the Falcons’ batters to grounders that the defense fielded cleanly.

Lefty Joe Palacios pitched four innings in relief, limiting the Falcons to three runs on four hits to go with a strikeout and one walk. He and the GSM defense also had two 1-2-3 innings, the fifth and seventh.

Peter Lieto went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI, while A.J. Norita, 2-for-3, scored three runs for the Falcons.

Blue Jays 10, Pirates 9
Catcher Quinson Blas scored the winning run on a Pirates error, while Lancaster Secharmidal closed out for the Blue Jays to help their team clinch third place against the IPI Pirates in another thrilling match that went two extra innings last Thursday night.

Blas, with two outs and the score tied at 9-9 at the top of the ninth, had an infield single then moved to second after Secharmidal walked and pushed the Froilan Camacho-managed squad ahead on an error by Pirates second baseman Jobe Reyes.

Earlier, the Blue Jays trailed at 8-5 after five complete, but scored two runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh before Secharmidal came in to push the game into extra innings.

Quimson went 3-for-5, all singles, with three runs. Kyle Foreman, who was struck out twice, had a bases-clearing triple at the top of the second to lift the Blue Jays to a 4-0 advantage.

Secharmidal relieved starter Kier Agda in the seventh and pitched three innings of one-hit ball with five strikeouts and one walk. He walked Reyes in the eighth and the latter scored on a K.J. Deleon Guerrero single.

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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