Sibetang homer powers Jays past Ballistics


Larson Sibetang homered for the first time in his baseball career to help the Blue Jays earn a 13-6 win over the Ballistics in the 2018 Saipan Major League last Wednesday night at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.

Sibetang, with one out and a runner on first at the bottom of the seventh, took Brandon Pua’s second pitch to deep right field with the ball clearing the “Tan Ko” fence and landing near the Marianas High School chainlink fence. Sebaklim now joins A.J. Lizama of the Chalan Kanoa Bears, Brian Camacho of Titanium, and Shane Yamada of the Mariners on the list of players who hit a home run this season.

The Blue Jays’ Greg Sablan waits for the pitch during their game against the Ballistics last Wednesday night in the 2018 Saipan Baseball League at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (Jon Perez)

Before Sibetang’s shot, Dominic Yumul led things off for the Blue Jays in the seventh and was struck out by Pua, while Greg Sablan was hit by the Ballisticc hurler’s pitch. Sibetang batted next and whacked the two-run dinger to break out from a tight 7-6 game.

Kimo Angailen and Neldreyton Skerei then both got on base on fielding errors by the Ballistics and touched home plate on a two-RBI single by Leo Salalila, who later scored on another bungled play by their opponents. R.J. Riungel, in the next play, caught Kier Agda’s line drive, while Jess Mesa went to second on back-to-back fielding errors by the Ballistics. Noel Cabrera struck out against Pua to end the seventh, but not after the Blue Jays scored five runs with Sibetang’s homer serving as the highlight of game.

Sibetang, who struck out twice, went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, while Leo Salalila drove in three runs to go with his two runs and a double on a 2-for-5 batting.

Yumul scored three times and went 2-for-5 with a leadoff double at the bottom of the second inning.

Noel Cabrera tossed for eight innings and despite being tagged with four earned runs on eight hits, he retired 10 batters while walking seven.

Kier Agda closed out for the Blue Jays and after giving a leadoff triple to Keoni Lizama, he made a twisting catch on a Keola Camacho line drive for the first out. Agda then forced Adolfo Roppul to fly out to left fielder Skerei and the game ended after Jay Camacho grounded out to third baseman Angailen, who fielded the ball cleanly to Sibetang at first base.

The win snapped the Blue Jays’ three-game slide and improved their record to 3-5. However, despite the win, the TanHoldings-backed squad will still be missing the playoffs, as only the Top 4 teams after the round-robin play will be advancing to the next round and the Blue Jays are at the bottom four.

The Blue Jays’ last victory was against the Indians, 18-8, last March 5. They dropped consecutive games against the defending champion Aces on March 12, 9-4; Titanium on March 19, 21-11; and the Chalan Kanoa Bears on March 26, 10-0.

The Blue Jays, who are handled by Froilan Camacho, will close out their season on April 9 as they duel the Mariners with the latter trying to remain in playoff contention.

The Ballistics, meanwhile, lost for the third straight time after securing its first win against the also-ran Outlaws, 15-8, on March 6. The Jay Camacho-managed team holds a 1-5 record and will next face Titanium on April 11.

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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