Nearly 500 youth to join SLLB 2010 season
The sports community will have a glimpse of the future of CNMI baseball on Sunday, as the Saipan Little League Baseball opens its 2010 season at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
The opening of SLLB's new season will bring together nearly 500 youth sluggers, aged from 9 to 18, and they will compete in four divisions: Majors, Juniors, Seniors, and Big League.
From this field, Saipan will pick players who will represent the Commonwealth to the CNMI District Meet, to the Asia Pacific Regional Tournament and then to the prestigious World Series. Last season, the CNMI Junior All-Stars earned a World Series trip.
Games in this year's SLLB will be played in the “Tan Ko” and Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan ballfields, which both underwent a facelift, giving CNMI youth sluggers much-deserved better playing fields.
Teams in the Majors will play at the smaller “Tan Ge” field and 13 squads will compete for the championship, led by defending champion Ol'Aces. The Happy Market-backed Ol'Aces won over the San Antonio Dragons in last year's finals.
The Dragons are also back this year, joining the Bank of Saipan Red Sox, Tanapag Braves, Kagman Little Lions, Hustlers, McDonald's Survivors, Tanapag Falcons, Century A's, Shell Strikers, IT&E, As Matuis Twins, and JPO Enforcers in the field.
Ol'Aces and the Dragons will have an early rematch this Sunday as they square off in the first game at 10am. Other matches set for the opening day are Red Sox vs. Braves and Little Lions vs. Hustlers.
In the Junior League, which will be played at the bigger “Tan Ko” Ballfield, the Patriots are returning to defend their title. Joining them are Ol'Aces, Fielders, Red Sox, Kagman Lion Heart, IT&E Northern, Survivors, and TSL A's.
The Patriots will debut against Ol'Aces on Sunday in the first game in the Junior League, while the Fielders will take on the Red Sox in the second game.
Six teams are entered in the Senior League, including the defending champion Fielders. The five other squads are Ol'Aces, D-9ers, Kagman Lion King, Hustlers, and Hunters. There will be only one game in the Senior League during the opening day with the Fielders facing Ol'Aces.
Rosters and schedule for the Big League have yet to be finalized, but there are six teams competing for the crown.
Meanwhile, the opening ceremony for the SLLB 2010 season will begin at 8am and will have Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, Saipan Mayor Donald Flores, House Speaker Froilan Tenorio, Senate President Paul Manglona, and other members of the 17th CNMI Legislature as guests.