The Saipan Majors All-Stars completed a three-game sweep of Rota in the 19th CNMI Little League District Tournament held over the weekend on Rota.
With its domination, Saipan earned the right of representing the CNMI to the Asia-Pacific-Middle East Little League Regional Tournament set from July 13 to 21 in the City of Guilin in China.
The Joe Flores-managed Saipan squad, who took the trip to Rota on Thursday, opened up Friday’s double-header with a slim 5-4 win.
The Saipan Majors All-Stars settled in after that and cruised to a 7-0 decision in the next game before closing out the virtual race-to-three series with a 19-8 pummeling of their southern opponents. Game 3 was highlighted by an inside-the-park grand slam from Aven Evangelista, who was the Saipan Little League’s runs champion with 33. Other details of the series were unavailable at press time, as Saipan Tribune has yet to receive copies of the scoresheets from Rota organizers.
Aside from Evangelista, other members of the team are lone female player Kiana Aldan, Jordan Babauta, Saipan Little League regular season most valuable player Vicente A. Camacho II, finals MVP Zachary Camacho, Justin Celis, Orren Cruz, Donaven Deleon Guerrero, Kyle Kapileo, Antonio Deleon Guerrero, Norita, Devon B. Pangelinan, Sean Rabauliman, Joven Reyes, and Zakariah Reyes. Head coach Tomas A. Camacho and assistant Michael A. Cruz helped Flores in preparing the pitcher-heavy team for the district meet.
The Saipan All-Stars delegation, along with the parents, and CNMI district administrator Michael Borja thanked the Rota Little League for hosting and showing its preparedness despite being hit by Typhoon Dolphin in May. The district tournament pushed through with the combined efforts of the Rota Little League, Rota Mayor’s Office led by Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig, and Rota Municipal Council chair George Hocog. The tournament became a best-of-five series between Saipan and Rota after Tinian failed to come up with a team.
Saipan represented the CNMI in last year’s regionals held in July at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga. The CNMI Little League All-Stars finished the elimination with a 3-2 card and missed the semis after losing in the tiebreak to Chinese-Taipei. They placed fifth overall following a win over New Zealand in the consolation match. The Commonwealth players recorded their three victories in pool play against Vietnam, 17-2; Hong Kong, 6-3; and Chinese-Taipei, 3-2, while the losses were versus Saudi Arabia, 4-9; and Dubai, 0-7.