The Francisco M. Palacios Ballfield is getting a needed facelift in time for the opening of the Saipan Little League Baseball and the Saipan Baseball League next month.
The SBL concluded its Masters and Under 25 division finals last week, giving the Northern Marianas Sports Association staff ample time to complete the improvement. NMSA staff began with the project yesterday, scraping off some of the dirt to level the infield. Some of the dirt will also be used for the pitcher’s mound.
NMSA executive director Tony Rogolifoi, who is also the SBL coordinator, said the minor renovation would be done before both leagues open next month.
“It’s just for improvement purposes. It’s only a matter of couple days. No need to worry, it will be done in no time. The [Saipan] Little League and SBL openings will not be disrupted,” said Rogolifoi.
The SLLB hopes to open its season on Feb. 3 with the Juniors and Seniors divisions games to be played at the “Tan Ko” baseball field, which will also be used in the upcoming SBL tournament tentatively set to start on Feb. 5.
Nine teams have signed up for the 2018 SBL season led by the defending champion BSI Aces. Completing the cast are last year’s runners-up Falcons, 2016 title-holders C.K. Bears, D9ers, Blue Jays, GSM, Titanum, Outlaws, and Mariners.
Meanwhile, NMSA is also in the process of completing repair work at the Oleai Sports Complex’s center field through the assistance of the Department of Lands and Natural Resources and Laolao Bay Golf & Resort.
The grass was already removed and leveling may start next week. NMSA and other personnel will sift the dirt (to separate it from the grass) so they could use it again by laying it on the field.
The field work at Oleai Sports Complex is being done in preparation for Saipan’s hosting of the 2018 Oceania Micronesian Regional Championships set from June 14 to 16. Repairs and other renovations at the sports complex are expected to be done in April, the latest, and more than three years before the 2021 Pacific Mini Games is held here.