Seventh straight heaven for MegaByte

Posted on Nov 02 2021
MegaByte players and coaching staff pose for a group photo with the perpetual trophy.

MegaByte players and coaching staff pose for a group photo with the perpetual trophy after winning their seventh straight championship and eighth overall during the 18th Annual NMI Crime Stoppers Softball Fundraising Tournament last Saturday at the Capitol Hill baseball field. (MARK RABAGO)

MegaByte won an unprecedented seventh straight championship and eighth overall after topping the 18th Annual NMI Crime Stoppers Softball Fundraising Tournament last Saturday at the Capitol Hill baseball field.

The six-time defending champions actually swept through the elimination round to finishing as the No. 1 seed. It then faced tourney newcomer Tan Siu Lin Foundation in the finals and was upset, 15-16, in Game 1.

Good thing they had the twice-to-beat advantage in the championship round of the double-elimination tournament, as MegaByte quickly regrouped in Game 2, smacking the upstart TSL team, 22-10, to win it all again.

Coach Erlinda “Lyn” Naputi said MegaByte’s recipe for success is that the team’s members are all family and their familiarity of play has led to MegaByte dominating the Crime Stoppers softball tournament eight out of the 18 years it’s been held.

“It’s a family team. We come out here to play. We come out here to hangout as a family. We’ve been blessed having won seven in a row. I’m thankful to have such a great tournament for us to come out as champion,” she said.

Naputi, whose husband Martin is the team’s manager, said the sport of softball also runs deep in their family’s veins and that’s why they always give their best every tournament.

“Our family’s team consists of nephews and nieces. We are continuing this legacy as our family is a softball family. It’s also a way of keeping the young ones out of trouble.”

Naputi also gave kudos to their championship opponent as the TSL team forced them to buckle down to work in the finals.

“We lost the first game in the finals. We went undefeated in the eliminations. These boys they like that. They like to lose and then come back. They’re a good team though. TSL is a good team. We’ve actually had games in the past where we had to go through extra innings, but in this tournament they were our biggest competitor.”

She, however, admitted that she had some nervous moments, especially in Game 1, where a J.D. Magofna towering homerun broke a 15-all tie in the seventh and forced a Game 2.

“We’re very, very confident. I was just in the dugout because I had a lot of goosebumps [that we might lose]. But they’re very, very confident that we will win [in Game 2]. They do have a lot of confidence in themselves,” she said.

MegaByte breezed through the winner’s bracket, beating Saipan Vegas in the first round last Thursday. The team played Bridge Capital LLC on Friday and also triumphed. MegaByte barged into the semifinals with a win over Brabu Pharmacy before punching the first final ticket by exacting TSL its first loss of the tourney earlier Saturday.

TSL, meanwhile, got going with a win over Saipan Stevedore last Friday. They then won their second game after eclipsing IT&E before forging its semifinals date with MegaByte. After losing to MegaByte, TSL then beat IT&E in the loser’s bracket finals. IT&E wound up third place.

In Game 1 of the finals, MegaByte appeared en route to a perfect tournament, leading 9-1 after three innings. TSL, however, awoke in the fourth with seven home plate crossings thanks to solo shots from Magofna and Vicente Camacho III.

MegaByte responded swiftly by tucking in six runs the very next inning, which included a grand slam by Harry Nakamura to make it 15-8. TSL retaliated with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and tied it up at 15-all in a five-run sixth following a parade of singles. Magofna then made his heroics after Branon Hocog silenced MegaByte’s bats in the top of the seventh.

In the rubber game, MegaByte went up 6-2 after two innings, but unlike the first game they didn’t let go of the reins. It would be 14-7 entering the fifth before another six-run cluster gave the champions an insurmountable 20-7 spread on back-to-back-to-back home-runs by Henry Lizama, Noki Saralu, and A.J. Lizama.

Two more insurance runs in the sixth pegged the score at 22-7 before TSL’s last-gasp rally fell short as they only managed to score only three more runs in the final inning with the last out coming courtesy of an A.J. Lizama catch on a line drive by Frankie Lieto.

Aside from this year’s championship, MegaByte also took home the titles from 2014 to 2019. They won their very first championship in 2012. Other members of the team are Isiah Lizama, Peyton Lizama, Keoni Kaipat, Maelyn Naputi, Ben Pangelinan, Nathan Camacho, Angel Palacios, Ben Flores, Frank Nakamura, Jerome Delos Santos, Jonathan Delos Santos, Greg Iskawa, and Joseph Celis.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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