SBL resumes, sets playoffs next week

An Outlaws runner gets ready to head home, while a Mariners player checks on what’s happening at home plate during an earlier regular season game in the 2018 Saipan Baseball League at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (Jon Perez)

The long-delayed 2018 Saipan Baseball League will play its remaining games in the regular season, starting tomorrow, weather permitting, at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.

Matches in the league have been stalled for more than two weeks due to rain and some repair work at the “Tan Ko” field. Only three games are left in the elimination round and they will no longer affect the rankings in the playoffs, but still have to be played to determine the winners in individual statistics. Tomorrow, the Outlaws are slated to face Titanium, while on Thursday, the former will take on the Blue Jays. For Friday’s schedule, it will be Go See Mark versus the Blue Jays.

The Outlaws are out of playoff contention, as they currently hold a 0-16 record. Titanium and the Blue Jays have also been eliminated, as the former has a 9-8 slate and the latter own a 4-14 mark. GSM, which has a 14-3 record, is in the playoffs and seeded No. 2, joining pennant winner Chalan Kanoa Bears (17-1), No. 3 Mariners (12-6), and defending champions Aces (12-6) to the postseason.

In the semifinal round, which is scheduled to start next week once the remaining regular season matches are completed, the Bears will face the Aces in a best-of-three series. The Mariners and GSM will have their on race to two wins showdown, while the finals will be a best-of-five affair.

The Bears are favored to make it all the way to the finals, as they will enter the playoff round on a 17-game winning streak. Incidentally, the pennant winners’ lone defeat this season came from the Aces, who earned a double-digit win against the Bears, 14-4, in their March 9 encounter.

Despite the underdog tag, the Aces could not be taken likely, as they are also on a roll in the second round of the elimination. The defending champions prevailed in six of their eight matches in the second round after a lackluster performance in the first.

Meanwhile, SBL is lining up two more competitions once the 10-team tournament concluded. SBL will have the U25 and masters leagues.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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