Santos: New SBL season in 2023

Posted on Aug 18 2022

The Chalan Kanoa Bears’ A.J. Lizama takes his time before pitching against the Mariners during a regular season game in the 2018 Saipan Baseball League at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Baseball Field. (SAIPAN TRIBUNE)

The Saipan Baseball League is looking at next year for the resumption of its baseball season after a super typhoon and COVID-19 essentially wiped out competition the past four years.

“We want to get the Saipan Baseball League season going by next year when it’s full baseball season in the CNMI. So, we’ll have plenty of time to organize and also allow the baseball teams to get organized,” SBL president Jay Santos told Saipan Tribune.

The SBL hopes to ride the momentum of the CNMI defending its baseball gold medal in the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022, but the SBL president said because of the long layoff they’re giving teams as much time as they need to get back in the thick of things.

“We’ll have time to organize through the fall and holiday season and coaches will have time to prepare their lineups,” he said.

Meanwhile, Santos said the SBL is looking at sending the CNMI National Baseball Team to the Palau Independence Day tournament in the first week of October.

He said SBL received the invitation when the Palau national baseball team competed here during the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022.

“Aside from Palau teams, there will also be teams from Taiwan, Korea, and Guam that are going so we want to send our team so they can compete there,” said Santos.

The SBL president added that they also want to finally have their youth leagues going by 2023.

“The SBL board of directors also want to put together U15 and U18 leagues and hopefully they’ll coincide with  the new season of the SBL as well.”

The SBL hasn’t had a season since Super Typhoon Yutu devastated Saipan in 2018. 

In fact, SBL was in the middle of its best-of-five championship series pitting the Chalan Kanoa Bears and Go See Mark when the Category 5 typhoon hit the island on Oct. 2, 2018.  

The Bears actually took the opener against Go See Mark, 8-5, on Oct. 22 or a few days before Yutu slammed Saipan and Tinian. 

The Category 5 typhoon left the Francisco “Tan Ko” M. Palacios Baseball Field unplayable with the bleacher crumpled, the bases and ground washed out, and the lights and nets broken.

The SBL later awarded the 2018 championship to the Bears by virtue of their Game 1 win.

With the Bears taking the finals win, they completed their domination of the 2018 season as they also got the pennant title that year. 

The Bears earned a 17-1 record in the double-round robin regular season. The 17 victories came in a streak and was recorded after the Bears dropped their first game in the season against the dethroned champions Aces, 4-14.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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