SBL to play on weekdays for 2018 season


The Blue Jays catcher asks for a ball from the umpire during their game against the IPI Pirates in last season’s Saipan Baseball League under 25 division at the Francisco M. Palacios Ballfield. Players in the U25 division are expected to suit up for the various teams that will play in the 2018 Saipan Baseball League. (Jon Perez)

The Saipan Baseball League will be having games on weekdays after 10 teams have signed up for the upcoming 2018 season, which is set to open on Feb. 12 at the Francisco “Tan Ko” M. Palacios Ballfield.

SBL coordinator Tony Rogolifoi said he decided to schedule games from Mondays to Fridays after being informed that the Saipan Little League will no longer use the “Tan Ko” baseball field for games in the Junior and Senior divisions. Matches start at 6:30pm.

The Big League used to hold night games at the “Tan Ko” field but the division was discontinued by Little League headquarters after the 2016 Big League World Series, which was won by Asia-Pacific representatives Taoyuan, Chinese-Taipei. The Junior and Senior divisions play their games also at the “Tan Ko” field, but would only have weekend matches since only three squads in each group signed up for the 2018 season.

“I’m in the process of finalizing the schedule. We’re going to play every day, Monday to Friday, since the Saipan Little League informed me that they won’t be having any night games,” Rogolifoi told Saipan Tribune.

“We should be done before the Micronesian Games, but it all depends on the weather. Hopefully, Mother Nature would cooperate with us so we don’t have to reschedule games due to rain.”

The Ballistics of manager Jay Camacho is the 10th team that signed up for the 2018 SBL season and will join the Outlaws of Manny Salas and the Mariners of Shine Tenorio as the new squads in the island’s premier baseball league. Defending champions Aces, last year’s finalists Falcons, 2016 winners C.K. Bears, the Blue Jays, GSM, Titanium, and the D9ers are the regulars in the SBL.

The Aces, backed by Best Sunshine Inc., won last year’s title after a 2-1 decision over the Falcons in Game 4 of their best-of-five championship series. They won Games 1 (9-3) and 3 (13-9), while the Falcons clinched Game 2, 12-8.

Players that will see action in SBL will be vying for slots on the CNMI national baseball team that will be formed after the season or midway through the competition, depending if matches will be completed before the Micro Games kicks off. The quadrennial event will be held in Yap from July 15 to 28.

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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