The Teachers survived the Veterans in double overtime of the deciding Game 5 of their title showdown to rule the 2014-2015 Saipan Rocball League last Saturday at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.
The Teachers won the second overtime, 16-14, to foil the Veterans’ bid to steal the championship. The newly crowned champion squad is composed of MHS teachers Tyce Mister, Nick Gross, and the husband-and-wife tandem Jacoby and Kathy Winkfield.
The quartet had to go through two overtimes to wrap up the best-of-five title series after J.R. Gechig-led Veterans pulled off a 25-21 victory in the fourth set. The win in the last regular set was only the Veterans first in the rubber, as the Teachers were all business in the first three, 25-9, 27-15, 25-7. Saipan Rocball creator James Feger used the quarter scoring in every set in the last game in the finals.
By the end of regulation, the Teachers were way ahead, 98-56, however it could not get the juiced-out win and the championship as Rocball rules state that the leading team can only take the victory if it also prevails in the fourth set.
With the Veterans finding a new lease of life, they used the momentum they got from their fourth-set win to notch a 14-7 triumph in the first overtime and boost their title bid. The Veterans needed two overtime wins to complete the come-from-behind win.
However, in the second overtime, the Teachers regrouped and erected an 11-5 advantage, moving just one point away from bagging the championship. In the last game in the finals, the overtime set is a race-to-12 affair or the first to score a goal wins it. However in the first-to-12 rule, the leading team has to get its 12th or more points off a good first serve.
The Teachers failed to get that good serve in the next few plays, allowing the Veterans to tie the game on three occasions, 12-12, 13-13-, 14-14, before Jacoby Winkfield delivered the ace to finally end the series.
Winkfield and Gross were the heavy hitters in Game 5, scoring 16 points ace. Gross had six kees and two aces, while Winkfield had seven kees and an ace. Mister added 14 markers off seven kees, while Winkfield chipped in 6 off two kees and one xunk.
Besides winning Game 5, the Teachers also took Games 2 (48-35) and 4. The Teachers forced the equalizer after also slipping past the Veterans in overtime in Game 4, 57-32. The Veterans juiced out the Teachers in Game 1, 43-37, and won Game 3 in double overtime, scoring one goal each in the extended sets.