SBL hopes to end extended season before Micro Games


A Current CNMI-Pacific Insurance Aces player waits at third base, while his teammate is up to bat during their first round game against the Mariners in the 2018 Saipan Baseball League last week at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. The league’s regular season has been extended, keeping the Aces’ title defense bid alive. (Jon Perez)

Saipan Baseball League coordinator Tony Rogolifoi is hoping Mother Nature cooperates so they could finish the 2018 season at least two weeks before the 9th Micronesian Games in Yap kicks off.

The league has extended its season and the second round of elimination began last Wednesday night at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield with Go See Mark shooting for its ninth win in as many games against the Blue Jays. Play, however, was discontinued after a heavy downpour made the field unplayable.

With the match rained-out, GSM and the Chalan Kanoa Bears are still tied for the lead, as they hold identical 8-1 records. The Falcons and the Mariners are also in a deadlock for second place with similar 6-3 marks and are followed by Titanium (5-4), and the defending champion Current CNMI-Pacific Insurance Aces (4-5). The Blue Jays and Ballistics, who have 3-6 cards, Indians (1-8), and Outlaws (0-9) complete the standings. The Indians ended their eight-game slide after a 17-6 decision over the winless Outlaws.

“We’re hoping the weather cooperates. We’re entering the rainy season, so hopefully it would not rain at night so we could finish within or ahead of our schedule,” said Rogolifoi.

GSM was enjoying a 6-0 lead at the bottom of the third and was up to bat when the game was halted.

This was the second rained-out match this season after the scheduled meeting between the C.K. Bears and the Falcons last April 18 was called off. The game was played last Tuesday with the Bears rallying for a 5-4 win.

Matches continued yesterday with the Aces set to duel Titanium and the latter aiming for a repeat after scoring a 14-11 win against the defending champs earlier. Tonight, the Mariners will face the Ballistics with the former hoping to sweep their opponents this season following a 13-3 triumph last Feb. 26.

If SBL moves ahead with its original schedule, the best-of-three playoffs would begin on July 2 with the finals set almost a week before the July 15 opening of the Micro Games.

“Hopefully, Mother Nature will be kind to us so there won’t be any cancelled games. We wanted to finish the season before the Micro Games. If not, we could suspend the games and resume after the Micro Games,” added Rogolifoi.

Meanwhile, Rogolifoi will also meet with the coaches and managers at 5:30pm on Monday at the GiIbert C. Ada Gymnasium’s conference room for the selection of the members of the CNMI national team that would try to reclaim the gold the Commonwealth last won in 2006.

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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