Senior All-Stars boost World Series bid


The CNMI Senior All-Stars shortstop AJ Lizama throws the ball after making a diving catch against Guam during their game in the 2012 Little League Baseball Asia Pacific Regional Tournament yesterday at the Paseo Stadium in Guam. (Walter Sutherland)  HAGATNA, Guam-The CNMI Senior All-Stars eliminated Guam (2-2) in the 2012 Little League Baseball Asia Pacific Regional Tournament, following a 8-7 victory over the host team in yesterday’s pool play game held at the Paseo Stadium.

The win will not be included in CNMI’s overall standings, however, as it was randomly selected as the lone squad in the seven-team field to play all six games without a rest day. The Commonwealth bets officially hold a 3-1 record.

The CNMI needs a big win over New Zealand (3-1) today to win the championship via tiebreaker, however the runs allowed average of tied teams will determine which squad advances to the coveted Little League World Series tournament in August. The important game is scheduled for 8am.

The Commonwealth sluggers absorbed their lone loss in the tournament so far last Saturday after bowing to the Philippines, 5-11.

In other results, New Zealand beat PH (2-1) last Friday, 4-1, and Guam routed New Zealand last Saturday morning, 19-1. Thailand (1-2), Indonesia (1-3) and China (1-4) make up the rest of the division.

China dropped its first four games before breaking the spell with a 19-8 victory over Indonesia. Indonesia routed Thailand last Friday, 19-6, and Thailand bested China last Saturday, 13-3. The Philippines was scheduled to play Thailand yesterday afternoon with the former favored to win the crucial match. Indonesia closes up against PH today 10:45am, while Guam collides with Thailand at 1:30pm.

CNMI 8, Guam 7

Guam stamped two runs in the opening frame off a two-RBI double by Kel Francisco, but CNMI fired back with two runs in the bottom portion from a two-RBI base rip by Ray Saralu that brought in Lancaster Secharmedal and AJ Lizama.

The count then shifted to 6-4, in favor of the CNMI as a pair of runs delivered by Napu San Miguel Afaissen and Sage was answered by four runs off five hits. Lizama bagged an RBI single and Jun Rabauliman unloaded on a two-RBI smash to right field.

Both teams tightened up on defense for the next two innings and Guam mounted a three-run rally in the fifth inning to move in front, 7-6, off two hits. Jesse Miner busted an RBI double and Guerrero made an RBI base knock.

CNMI’s Frankie Lieto committed three errors in the sketchy inning, but made up for it at the plate with a two-RBI single to left field that went through the defenders legs, allowing CNMI to reclaim the lead.

Secharmedal was called to the mound after Guam’s rally in the fifth. He made it cleanly through the sixth, but Guam put the tying run on second base in the final stand. However, in the end, Jonathan Villagomez made a huge catch on the run in deep centerfield for the dramatic finish.

Philippines 11, CNMI 5

The Philippines scored three quick runs out of the gate off two hits and some errors. Christian Mercado bagged an RBI single.

The count then shifted to 5-3, in the second inning as both teams moved around two runs.

The Philippines cracked three hits, including a two-RBI base rip by Andrew Merachi, while CNMI whacked four hits that brought in Davin Ada and Frankie Camacho.

The Philippines went ahead, 8-2, in the top of the fourth, as its top of the order loaded the bases with a double, a hit and a walk, which set up a pair of costly RBI walks and an extra run off a fielder’s choice. The CNMI managed to get one back in the bottom frame, but was tripped up by a double play in the inning. The PH added a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh and held CNMI to just two runs in the final stand.

By Walter J. Sutherland

Walter J. Sutherland Reporter

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