Two Rota players trying out for Mini Games

Players trying out for the CNMI National Baseball Team for next year’s Pacific Mini Games

Players trying out for the CNMI National Baseball Team for next year’s Pacific Mini Games do some sprint sessions with strength and conditioning coach Joey Tudela (with timer) at the Oleai track and field. (MARK RABAGO)

Saipan Baseball League announced that two players from Rota have recently joined the tryouts for the CNMI National Baseball Team for next year’s Pacific Mini Games.

SBL president Jay Santos said national coaches Deron Flores and Gary Cruz flew down to the CNMI’s southernmost island two weeks ago and conducted a tryout.

“Out of 10 players I believe that tried out there we now have two Rota players that are here and their names are Luis Hocog and Daniel Rangamar,” he told Saipan Tribune.

The Triple J executive said Hocog and Rangamar joining the tryouts for the national baseball team for the Mini Games is a testament to SBL’s all-inclusive nature when it comes to picking players that will represent the CNMI in the quadrennial event.

“It’s the same process we did as on Tinian. All the players that tried out on Rota had to meet a certain criteria that was laid out by the coaches and the coaches found two players that met that criteria. Those two players from Rota and those four from Tinian have the same opportunity to make the national team like all the players on Saipan,” he said.

Santos also happily shared that the national team, headed by manager Manny Sablan, began skills and on-the-field training sessions last Nov. 27. He added there’s still 50-60 players trying out for the national team and those include the four players from Tinian and the two from Rota.

“Last Saturday was the first time the coaches worked with the pitchers. They segregated the pitchers from the infielders and the outfielders. They obviously showed some rust but we’ve got really talented players here in the NMI and the best part is they exude confidence as well. They’re very confident that their abilities will come back once they get more repetition and practice,” he said.

Unfortunately, training has been stymied by the inclement weather the past week as the national team hasn’t been back at the Francisco “Tan’Ko” M. Palacios Baseball Field since the day they started skills and on-the-field training.

“We had to pause training because of the rain. We haven’t had any practice this week because of rain but it also helped us because we still need to formulate are plan and our policy with regards to the pandemic. Especially with the corona virus going on we thought it would be a great idea to just have a little break on the training. Today, Monday, they will resume training,” said Santos.

The SBL head also said Star Marianas Air Inc. cancelling inter-island flights to Tinian and Rota will obviously have a negative effect on players from both islands trying out for the national team.

“It’s a concern because it obviously impacts the Tinian and Rota players and we just have to wait how that plays out and we’re going to try and accommodate those guys as best as we can,” he said.

Santos admitted that he’s not entirely sure if the Tinian and Rota players are back on Saipan as SBL allowed them to fly to their home islands to spend Thanksgiving there.

“Last week we did allow them to go home to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families,” he said.

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

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.