By Robert Balajadia
The road to represent the Asia-Pacific in the Little League World Series has ended for Team Guam as they suffered a heart breaking 8-7 loss to CNMI through six-and-a-half innings during tournament play on Sunday.
The up and down tournament finally came to a halt as Guam’s Napu San Miguel stepped up to bat facing two outs and Eric Reyes on second base. San Miguel got a good hit on the ball forcing it way right in what looked to bring home the game-tying run but CNMI outfielder Jonathan Villagomez made the spectacular catch, leaping into the air to grab the out to end the game.
Guam got an assist from the Philippines as they beat CNMI yesterday 11-5 but the loss to CNMI now puts Guam out of contention. CNMI and New Zealand will play Monday morning at 9 a.m. for the chance to represent the Asia-Pacific as both teams suffered only one loss during the Tournament.
CNMI made the comeback in the sixth inning trailing 7-6 as Francisco Camacho got an RBI triple to tie the game. Francisco Lieto mimicked Camacho’s success by getting an RBI triple to give CNMI the 8-7 lead. Guam needed to score at least one run at the top of the seventh to further play but the leaping grab by Villagomez all but sealed Guam’s fate.
The first inning was a clear testament of the intense game with both teams exchanging blow-for-blow going two-up in the inning. Kel Francisco nailed a 2RBI double deep left to get Guam on the board. CNMI answered back in mirror fashion as Raymond Saralu brought in two runs and made it to first base off an error.
Guam cashed in two more runs in the second inning as San Miguel grounded an RBI double but an errant throw to home brought him to third. Johnny Aguon brought home San Miguel with an RBI double to give Guam the lead before CNMI took over.
CNMI almost walked out of the second inning scoreless but an error off a hit to first base brought in Francisco Camacho which would have ended the inning if had been caught. AJ Lizama scored an RBI double to tie the game before Henry Rabauliman knocked a 2RBI double to give CNMI the 6-4 lead.
If CNMI had lost to Guam it would not have shown up in their loss column due to an odd amount of teams. CNMI drew Guam’s name at random to be the selected “free” game record wise. If Guam had won, CNMI would still have to lose to New Zealand Monday in order to win out. Guam will play Thailand Monday but will the game will have no significance in being the winner of CNMI of New Zealand will be the representation winner.
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