The defending champions Chalan Kanoa Bears and second-running Mariners will be pitted against the Blue Jays and Go See Mark, respectively, when the semis round of the 2019 Saipan Baseball League kicks off next weekend at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
The Bears secured the No. 1 seed in the playoffs after pulling off a 7-5 victory against the Blue Jays last Saturday and wrapping up the double-round robin elimination with a 9-1 record. The Bears and Blue Jays will collide in a best-of-three semis series.
The same format will be in effect in the Final Four duel between the Mariners and GSM. The Mariners took the No. 2 spot in the team rankings with still one game left (versus Blue Jays this Saturday) in the elimination following an 11-3 triumph over GSM last weekend. GSM ended up with a 6-4 record, while the Blue Jays hold a 4-5 slate. The Aces and Rockies were the two other teams that joined this season’s competition and got the early boot after forfeiting two matches each.
After a quick 1-2-3 inning at the bottom of the first, the Mariners came to work in the second and third to take control of the match. Nate Camacho hit a two-run double in the second inning where the Mariners made six runs, while the squad added three more in the third, thanks to Ton Tenorio’s three-run triple.
The Mariners never looked back, as they shut down GSM after giving up three runs at the top of the first inning.
In the other game last weekend, the Bears banked on a five-run bottom of the third inning to thwart the Blue Jays’ upset bid.
The Blue Jays led after two and a half innings, 4-1, as they got two runs in the first off the Bears’ error and two more at the top of the third off a passed ball and Auriel Mendiola’s double.
A.J. Lizama put the Bears on the board at the bottom of the first off a fielder’s choice and the defending champions went on to grab the lead from the Blue Jays at the bottom of the third after posting five runs. Fred Songao blasted a two-run single in the pivotal third, Jose Lizama had a sacrifice bunt, and Angel Palacios and Peyton Lizama reached off the Blue Jays’ errors.
A.J. Lizama also made it home off the Blue Jays’ miscue in the sixth inning to counter Josenio Alvarez’s run in the fifth and give the Bears cushion, going into the top of the seventh. The defending champions went on to finish the last inning in style, capping the top of the seventh with a double play.