The Chalan Kanoa Bears are a win away from defending their title, as the 2018 champions dominated the Mariners, 14-3, in Game 2 of their finals series in the 2019 Saipan Baseball League last Saturday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
The Bears, who won Game 1 via forfeit, earned another easy victory in the best-of-five title series and moved closer to gaining back-to-back championships after scoring five runs apiece in the first and fifth inning.
Fred Songao hit an RBI triple and Ricardo Dela Cruz blasted an RBI single at the top of the first inning for the Bears. Kiku Lizama, Angel Palacios, and Peyton Lizama scored the three other runs fro the Bears, as they reached off the Mariners’ errors.
The Henry Lizama Sr.-coached Bears added one run each in the second and third inning to remain in control. Kiku Lizama made it home anew in the second inning off a sacrifice out in the second inning, while Songao’s single brought Dela Cruz home in the third.
After giving up early runs to the Bears at the top of the first inning, the Mariners had a chance to counter at the bottom, as it loaded the bases with two outs. However, Nate Camacho, Eli Aughenbaugh, and Gary Gruz were left stranded, as Songao caught a fly from Nate Smith. Bears pitcher Jose Lizama struck out Ton Tenorio, while the latter’s brother, Pat, went down on a 5-3 putout play for the Mariners’ first two outs.
After the missed opportunities at the bottom of the first, McGwire Iyekar put the Mariners on the board in the second when he scored off Pat Tenorio’s sacrifice fly. The Mariners got their two other runs in the third and fourth with Jon Villagomez’s single bringing in Smith and Jonah Flores reaching off Pat Tenoro’s double to cut the deficit to 4, 3-7.
However, the Bears widened the gap anew, 12-3, as they battled back from a scoreless top of the fourth by scoring five runs in the fifth. The Bears capitalized on the erratic defense of the Mariners as the defending champions got three runs off the latter’s miscues. The Bears’ two other runs were courtesy of Songao from a fielder’s choice and A.J. Lizama off a base on ball.
Dela Cruz made it a double-digit lead for the Bears in the sixth inning, 13-3, when he reached off another Mariners’ defensive meltdown, while the last run in the one-sided game can also be credited to the designated hitter, as his single drove in Henry Lizama at the top of the seventh.
At the bottom of the seventh, the Mariners were called for three quick outs—the same unfortunate fate they had in the sixth—pushing the team on the brink.
The Mariners hope to stay alive in the finals series, as they gun for a win in Game 3 this Saturday.