SBL eyes early start for 2018 season


Blue Jays catcher Quinson Blas, kneeling, checks the baseball before throwing it to pitcher Virgil Secharmidal, while an IPI Pirates batter waits at the plate during their battle for third place game in the 2017 Saipan Baseball League’s Under 25 division last week at the Francisco M. Palacios Ballfield. (MacKenzie Perez)

The Saipan Baseball League is looking to open its 2018 season earlier than the planned kick-off date to give the soon-to-be-formed CNMI national baseball team enough time to prepare for the 2018 Micronesian Games in Yap.

Feb. 5 is the tentative opening of the SBL 2018 season, but league coordinator Tony Rogolifoi said it could be moved to an earlier date.

“That’s why we’re going to have a final meeting on Jan. 31, Wednesday, at 5:30pm here at the [Gilbert C.] Ada Gymnasium conference room. “All the waiver forms must be turned in and I’m also asking the teams to submit their final rosters at the meeting. I’m also in the process of finalizing the schedule for the entire season,” he said

Rogolifoi added that he plans to make an early selection for the national baseball squad so they can start their preparation for the Micro Games soon. The ninth edition of the region’s quadrennial sporting event will be held from July 15 to 28 at the Yap Sports Complex in Colonia.

“We might temporary suspend the games midway in the season for the Micro Games. “The [national] team needs time to practice and prepare for the Micro Games. But, as much as possible, we’re going to try to finish the entire season. It all depends on the weather and hopefully, Mother Nature would cooperate with us.”

Meanwhile, Rogolifoi added that one more team may join the SBL 2018 season, bringing the field to 10.

“There could be a 10th team. I just asked them to submit their roster to see if they are competitive enough. We want to keep the level of competition high, especially for those young players who could no longer play after the Little League dropped the Big League [15 to 18 age] division,” said Rogolifoi.

Players 17 years old and above are allowed to suit up for any team in the coming season. The defending champions Aces, last year’s finalists Falcons, 2016 winner C.K. Bears, D9ers, Blue Jays, GSM, Titanium, Outlaws, and Mariners are the nine teams that have already confirmed their participation in the league.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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