SBL to have longer season; Top 4 advance


The Falcons’ A.J. Evangelista stands on first base, while a Mariners player stays close to him during their game last April 2 in the 2018 Saipan Baseball League at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (Jon Perez)

The 2018 Saipan Baseball League will have a second round in the regular season after the managers and coaches of the 10 competing teams agreed to have a longer competition.

SBL coordinator Tony Rogolifoi met with the managers and coaches last Monday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium’s conference room and the group decided to have another round of nine games before moving into the playoffs.

“They found the money, but the format stays the same with the Top 4 teams advancing to the playoffs. The teams just wanted a longer season. They wanted to play more games,” Rogolifoi told Saipan Tribune. “They will have extra games or a total of 18 games once we’re done with both rounds.”

Coaches and managers, in a separate meeting last April 12, were asked to find additional funds to stretch the season to a second round. Help came from the Legislature.

Rogolifoi added they could not follow the format of Top 6 or Top 8 teams in the playoffs since the Top 4 squads competing in the postseason is the most ideal.

The Top 4 teams making it to the playoffs was also the original format with the top-ranked squad taking on the fourth seed and the No. 2 clashing with No. 3 in a best-of-three semis series. The winners will then battle for the crown in a best-of-five format.

Having a second round of games in the elimination kept the Aces’ title defense bid alive. The reigning champions would have missed the postseason after going 1-3 in their games this month, losing to Titanium, GSM, and the Mariners. Had the league ended the regular season after the first round, GSM, the Bears, Falcons, and the Mariners would have been playoff-bound.

GSM is the current leader in the 10-team field with its 8-1 record, followed by the C.K. Bears (7-1), Falcons (6-2), Mariners (6-3), Aces (5-4), Titanium (5-4), Blue Jays (3-6), and Ballistics (3-6), Indians (1-8) , and Outlaws (0-9).

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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