Pennant winner Chalan Kanoa Bears will be pitted against defending champion Aces when the semis round of the 2018 Saipan Baseball League starts, possibly early next month.
The Bears-Aces pairing was decided over the weekend after league organizers and the 2017 season champs and Mariners agreed to a draw to determine the No. 3 and 4 finishers in the regular season. The Mariners and Aces wrapped up the double-round robin elimination with similar 12-6 records. The Mariners got win No. 12 off its victory via forfeiture against the ousted Ballistics, while the Aces earned the same number of triumphs after knocking out the Falcons, 14-7.
The standoff, according to SBL coordinator Tony Rogolifoi, then had to be decided via draw after the Mariners and Aces still ended up in a deadlock following three tiebreaking criteria: head-to-head; total runs allowed; and runs ratio.
With the Aces getting the No. 4 spot, they will have to stop the Bears, who are on a rampage, as the latter was undefeated in the second round of the regular season. The Bears swept Round 2 after routing the Indians, 11-1, in a make-up game last Monday. The pennant champions finished the elimination with an impressive 17-1 record, and have yet to taste defeat for about five months. Incidentally, the Bears’ lone loss in the regular season was against the Aces, who cruised to a 14-4 victory in their March 9 duel.
The Aces are the next-hottest team in the second round of the elimination, winning six of their last eight matches to keep their bid for back-to-back titles alive.
Meanwhile, the other semis pairing will have Go See Mark (13-6) meeting the Mariners. GSM has two make-up matches left—against the Indians (scheduled last Thursday) and versus the Blue Jays (last night).
Other make-up matches are Outlaws vs Titanium and Blue Jays versus Outlaws. Though the semis cast has been set, SBL still opted to play the remaining games to decide the winners in the individual statistics.
SBL is hoping to complete the regular season matches this weekend so it could start the playoffs next week.
Originally, the semis round, which is a best-of-three affair, is supposed to kick off this Friday with the No. 1 Bears and No. 4 Aces playing in the opener. Schedule of Game 1 may likely change to give way to the make-up matches. However, if SBL will push through with the Bears-Aces opener for this Friday, Game 1 of the Mariners-GSM semis showdown may be played on Monday.
For the finals, opposing teams will face off in a best-of-five series with Game 1 tentatively set for Sept. 10. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, are scheduled for Sept. 13 and 14, as SBL wants to complete the season immediately to start the Masters and U25 competitions.