R.J. Riungel had a two-RBI double, while Brandon Pua held his own in the ninth as the Ballistics pulled off an upset over Titanium,12-9, in the 2018 Saipan Baseball League last Wednesday night at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
Riungel went 2-for-4, driving in two runs at the bottom of the fifth with a double to put the Ballistics up at 11-8. He also scored twice and had two doubles.
The Ballistics was holding on to a 7-4 lead after four complete, but lost its advantage after Titanium scored four times at the top of the fifth. The Ballistics then recovered after that and kept its composure in the crucial stretch.
Titanium pitcher Joby Reyes, after Keola Camacho was out while trying to reach third, walked J-Boy Mendiola, who tied the game, 8-all, on a Mike Muna fielder’s choice. Muna, with still one out, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a Titanium error as the Ballistics regained the lead, 9-8.
Jay Camacho singled, while Tyrese Camacho was safe at first on Titanium shortstop K.J. Villagomez’s throwing error before Riungel came up with the important two-RBI double.
Riungel was out at third in the next play, but helped Ben Leon Guerrero reach first safely on an Austin Benavente error at center field. Keoni Lizama struck out to end the inning.
Harry Nakamura, with two outs at the bottom of the eighth, scored the insurance run, while the Ballistics’ defense thwarted Titanium’s comeback bid at the top of the ninth.
Jack Sablan had a leadoff infield hit at the top of the ninth, but was out while trying to reach second base. Tindin Leon Guerrero had a fielder’s choice and then was left stranded after Ballistics’ relief pitcher Pua forced Brian Camacho and Jerald Cabrera to consecutive groundouts.
Nakamura went 2-for-5 with two runs, a double, and a triple, while Mendiola batted 1-for-3 with two RBIs and one run.
Pua pitched four innings in relief, giving up two hits with one unearned run, two strikeouts, and three walks.
The Ballistics improved its record to 2-5 for the No. 8 spot in the 10-team field, while Titanium is ranked sixth with its 4-4 mark. GSM leads the lead after finishing the regular season with an 8-1 record and is followed by the Bears (6-1), Falcons (5-2), Mariners (5-3), and Aces (4-3). The Indians and Outlaws, which have similar 0-6 slates, complete the standings.
Initially, the league’s ground rules stated that only the Top 4 teams after the regular season will advance to the playoffs, however squads had a meeting last night to get the consensus of the participants on the final postseason format.