James Sablan Jr.

By: James Sablan Jr.

(Marianas Variety)

PALAU leads the 2022 Pacific Mini Games gold medal race in baseball after crushing the NMI, 13-2, on Saturday at the Tan Ko Palacios baseball field.

Palau was the first to score with O’leary Ise connecting for an RBI single. Palau’s lead continued to grow after making two more runs.

Palau then bagged five runs in the fourth inning alone and was soon in total command with a 10-0 lead.

In the fifth inning, with two on base, the NMI’s Ben Jones Jr. executed a sacrifice play to bring in Juan Iguel to the home plate. But the NMI was still way behind Palau, 1-11.

Palau then kept the pressure going with stolen bases en route to a 13-2 victory against the host.

Palau on Friday demolished the Solomon Islands, 21-0, while the NMI beat long-time rival Guam, 4-1, on Thursday. Guam, however, dominated Fiji, 13-3, on Saturday.

Saipan Baseball League President Jay Santos noted that the NMI had not competed in a regional event “for the last four or so years, so it is good to see them come out and play.”

He added, “And it’s good to see that they are game-ready. Bottom-line is, we didn’t want…an excuse. It was important for us to go out and play hard.”

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