Starz denies Blue Jays graceful exit


North Starz’s Ben Lizama delivers a pitch to the Blue Jays during the top of the first inning of their game in the 2016 Saipan Baseball League last Tuesday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

North Starz denied Blue Jays’ final bid to enter the win column in the 2016 Saipan Baseball League following a 7-5 victory in their game last Tuesday at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.

The Blue Jays failed to have a graceful exit in this year’s competition as they finished the double-round robin elimination with a dismal 0-14 record. North Starz, on the other hand, improved to a 3-10 mark with one match (versus the Falcons) left from its schedule in the regular season.

North Starz scored in the last three innings to escape with the win. It faced a 3-4 deficit after five complete innings as the Blue Jays nailed two runs apiece in the third and fifth. Justin Santos posted one run apiece at the top of the third and fifth off a passed ball and the North Starz’s error, while the two other runs were registered by Davy Matagolai and James Benavente, also from the winning team’s miscues.

North Starz got two runs in the second inning with E.J. Tenorio reaching off a wild pitch and John Tenorio making it home off the Blue Jays’ defensive miscue. Roke Tenorio gave North Starz its third run when he stole home at the bottom of the fifth and then hit an RBI single in the sixth to tie the match, while another RBI single—from Tim Cruz—put the Jon Tenorio-managed squad on top.

Two more earned runs—an RBI double from John Tenorio in the seventh and RBI single from John Quitugua in the eighth—gave the North Starz more breathing room and it hung on to the lead after yielding only one run to the Blue Jays in the last four innings.

James Benavente logged the lone run at the top of the eight with no outs and runners on second and third to boost the Blue Jays’ chances of getting their first win of the season. However, Zack Sasamoto and Jess Mesa were left stranded, as Santos and Matagolai flied out and Ben Flores went down on a 5-3 putout play.

Despite the missed chances, the Blue Jays refused to give up and came out fighting at the top of the eight. They went to as far as second base with Chandler Delos Santos advancing off a North Starz error and stealing second. However, he was stuck there, as third batter Aaron Benavente flied out to first and James was called for a 6-3 putout play. Leadoff batter Shine Tenorio earlier committed the first out off a 5-3 play.

Ben Lizama and John Tenorio pitched North Starz to victory, as they combined for a seven-hitter and allowed no earned runs while walking only five and striking out seven. Lizama started out for North Starz, working the mound for five innings.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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