Saipan was awarded the hosting rights for Baseball Confederation of Oceania’s Under-21 tournament set either in December 2015 or in January 2016.
Saipan Baseball League coordinator Tony Rogolifoi said the tournament could be held either on the week after the Christmas holiday or the second week of January 2016.
Rogolifoi, who is also the Northern Marianas Sports Association’s executive director, added that with the hosting finally given to Saipan, he now awaits the confirmation of six other countries under the region’s governing sports body.
Guam is the other team that confirmed its participation aside from the hosts. Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Palau have yet to send word that they would be joining the tournament.
The Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands are the other BCO members.
Rogolifoi has been working hard to bring the tournament to Saipan believing that it would further promote the growth of the sport on the island and would also be a good preparation for the inaugural Micronesian Baseball Classic also set next year.
“We’re more than willing to host the other countries so they could get a chance to see Saipan and get to know our local culture,” said Rogolifoi in an earlier interview.
Rogolifoi is also helping the Division of Youth Services in organizing the 2015 Triple A Youth Baseball League Summer/Fall season in October.
Rogolifoi said that players that would participate in the DYS-backed league would earn the chance of being chosen to be members of the CNMI U21 All-Star team that would see action in the BCO tournament
The Francisco M. “Tan Ko” Palacios Baseball Field, the island’s lone public baseball facility, however, needs to be spruced up quickly after suffering damage when Typhoon Soudelor pummeled Saipan last Aug. 2.
Some of the field’s lights were either missing or not aligned and needs to be fixed after NMSA’s initial inspection. The surrounding fence and other areas of the facility, including he batting cages, were also damaged and needs to be repaired.
Games in Little League Asia-Pacific-Middle East Regional Baseball Tournament in the Junior, Senior, and Big League divisions from late June to early July this year were also held at the Tan Ko field.