You know the new season of Saipan Little League Baseball is forthcoming when you see players with their bats and gloves getting off from their cars and heading to the baseball and softball fields at the Oleai Sports Complex after school hours.
“We’re getting ready for the new season,” said McDonald’s assistant coach Anthony Tenorio, who picked up some of their Major division players and brought them to the Miguel “Tan Ge” Pangelinan Ballfield yesterday for their training session.
“We’ve been practicing since September,” added Anthony, who along with his younger brother and the team’s head coach Patrick, conducted warm-up throwing and catching drills yesterday with the first batch of players that arrived at the field.
McDonald’s has 14 players on its Major squad and seven of them are holdovers from last year’s squad.
“We were the last ones to make it to the playoffs last year, so hopefully we will have a better position this season. There are seven players returning this year and their experience will be a big factor in our campaign this season. Hopefully, we will have better and wiser players,” said Anthony, whose players train twice a week or every Wednesday and Friday with each session lasting for two hours.
McDonald’s took the field from the Pirates, who had Gus Pangelinan leading the group’s practice yesterday.
“The Pirates have two teams this season so we have a lot of coaches,” said Pangelinan.
The Pirates had one team last season and missed the playoffs.
“Of course, the goal this season is to make it to the playoffs. However, we are just happy to see a lot of players coming out this season to learn the sport,” said one of the Pirates coaches.
“We’re excited to play. I will do my best to help my team and will follow our coaches’ instructions so I will become a better player,” said J.R. Suel, who was a pitcher and the shortstop on the Pirates’ team last season.
The new SLLB season is originally scheduled to start at the end of this month, but SLLB president A.J. Murig said the opening date maybe pushed back to give other teams more time to prepare and meet the league’s requirements.
“We have a managers meeting this Friday and we will let them know about the opening date,” Murig said.
The meeting is set for 5:30pm at the conference room of the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Murig added that to this date 11 teams are entered in the Major division, seven in Juniors, and five in Seniors.