The Saipan Major All-Star Team will don the colors of the Commonwealth in the 2017 Asia Pacific Regional Championships after blanking Rota, 8-0, in the title game in the 2017 CNMI District Tournament held over the weekend here.
Pitcher Delbert Sablan had a no-no and Saipan scored eight runs in the pivotal fifth inning to win the championship game played last Saturday at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield and the ASPAC slot that goes with it. Sablan also had 15 strikeouts, forcing Rota to 1-2-3 in the first, second, and fourth inning and delivering the victory to Saipan after only five and a half innings.
Before folding up, Rota managed to hold its ground against Saipan in the first four innings, as starting pitcher Toting Barcinas allowed only three hits and stranded six runners.
Barcinas still worked the mound for Rota at the start of the bottom of the fifth and walked leadoff batter Joseph Ada, while Eli Ray Castro made a single against the former. Ada and Castro went on to reach home off Rota’s errors, while more runs came for Saipan off Keoni Serrano’s two-RBI single, Kaipo Dikito’s RBI single, and Castro’s RBI double. After Castro made his second at-bat in the same inning, Rota finally stopped the bleeding when relief pitcher Mamet Manglona struck out J.R. Suel.
It took Rota nearly 15 minutes to wrap up the bottom of the fifth inning, while Saipan needed only a few to end the top of the sixth and secure the championship. Delbert Sablan ended his shift by fanning out leadoff Landen Atalig and third batter Lucas Manglona, while second batter Tyric Castro grounded out at first.
The victory against Rota was Saipan’s second in as many games and the hosts went on to sweep all three matches in the district tournament.
In their first meeting last Friday, Saipan also took only five and a half innings to top Rota, 7-2.
Patrick Celis was the Saipan Major All-Stars’ man on the mound and shut down Rota in the first five innings, giving up only one hit. He also went 3-for-3 at bat, including a solo homer in the first inning where Saipan posted a 5-0 lead.
Heath Camacho and Delbert Sablan added one run each in the first inning, scoring off Rota’s booboos, while Jason Reyes made the other run, thanks to Serrano’s single. Saipan’s two other runs came from Rota’s error in the third and fourth inning.
Rota, after being silent in the first five innings, got two runs at the top of the sixth off Saipan’s defensive miscues. However, after its first two batters scored, the next three went down with Nathan Salas beaten to second and Atalig and Castro struck out by Celis.
Celis also starred in Saipan’s 10-run rule win against Tinian, 12-2.
He scored three runs and made a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Reyes helped in the easy victory, too, as he pitched for Saipan and yielded only two hits and one earned run, while striking out nine batters.
With the pair of victories, Saipan advanced to the championship, while Tinian and Rota were left to battle for the last finals berth which the latter won.
Rota took the last finals seat after a 13-3 victory in four innings. Rota set up the early win after scoring eight runs at the bottom of the third inning. Before pulling away, Rota was just ahead by one, 4-3, after two complete innings.
Meanwhile, the district meet also featured competitions in the Junior and Senior League divisions at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield and results will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Tuesday edition.