By Robert Balajadia
The Philippines have won the chance to represent the Asia-Pacific in the 2012 Little League World Series Big Division with Guam having lost to CNMI Monday night 9-5 through six-and-a-half innings in the final game of the tournament. The loss for Guam puts all three teams at a tie (2-2) in the win/loss column having the Philippines own the tiebreaker allowing the fewest (11) runs in the tournament.
Guam also lost the chance to represent the Asia-Pacific in the Senior Division after losing a close 8-7 game to CNMI Sunday afternoon. New Zealand beat CNMI 2-1 on the final day of tournament play, securing their spot in the Little League World Series. Guam easily defeated Thailand 14-4 on their last game of the tournament but the game would not affect the final outcome.
The sixth inning was all about missed opportunities for Guam as they entered trailing 6-4. Darrin Pangilinan started off the inning getting a base hit followed by a single by Justin Elm. Polycard Luther Jr. sacrificed a bunt to advance Pangilinan and Elm to second and third holding the game tying runs.
CNMI pitcher Brian Camacho let a throw fly past his baseman and a costly coaching decision by Guam had Pangilnan sprint to home but could not beat the throw before getting hit with the out. The out neutralized Guam’s scoring chances as the CNMI shortstop made a diving catch to out Nickulaus Cruz.
CNMI would not walk away empty handed in the sixth inning cashing in three more runs to extend the lead 9-4. Guam pitcher Sean Cruz was replaced by Cody Dowless in the middle of the inning giving up the three runs. Leroy Regis got an RBI single and was brought in a bat later by McGarette Duenas who hit an RBI double. Camacho rounded out the inning for CNMI getting a base hit allowing Duenas to score on the error.
The score was tied at one after the first inning but CNMI was out to get Guam after losing to them earlier in the tournament and never trailed after the second inning.
Errors hurt Guam but none more than in the second inning when Camacho was at bat with the bases loaded and one out away from ending the inning. Guam pitcher Sean Cruz checked Regis the runner at second, who was called safe on the play but the ball was lost on the catch. Camarc Iguel made the conscious move to steal home for CNMI and was successful as the ball was overthrown to Pangilinan.
Regis then made his move to third base but another error allowed Regis to sprint home as third baseman Joe Duenas let the ball get past his glove to put CNMI up 4-1. Cruz managed to keep Camacho at bay getting one of his five strikeouts to end the inning.
Camacho pitched all but half of the seventh inning getting four strikeouts for the game. Regis came in to pitch for CNMI to close out the game and gave Guam a flicker of hope hitting three of his first four batters loading the bases. Luther Jr. was Guam’s last batter and got a good lick on the ball but the pop fly would result in the end of the game at 9-5 with the bases loaded.
Guam was unsuccessful in both Little League runs having their fate decided by the thinnest of margins. The Senior Division team ended the tournament with a 3-2 record while the Big Division Guam team went even at 2-2. New Zealand will represent the Asia-Pacific in the Senior Division while the Philippines will represent in the Big Division.
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