BANGOR — Although the Latin American champions from San Nicholas, Aruba had to gut out an 8-4 marathon win over Saipan that took almost three hours to play, it was Aruba’s sprinting start out of the blocks in the first inning that decided things.
Aruba jumped on Saipan starting pitcher Joseph Palacios early in Sunday night’s Senior League World Series game at Mansfield Stadium by scoring four runs via three stolen bases, two hits, an error, a walk, and a wild pitch.
“That first inning was everything,” said Saipan’s Anthony Leon Guerrero, head coach of the Asia-Pacific champs. “That’s how they scored those runs was their aggressiveness.”
Aruba would finish the 2-hour, 50-minute game with a Bangor Series-record 10 steals.
“Oh man, Aruba is too fast,” Guerrero said. “They’re more aggressive with their baserunners and that made our kids worried about them taking the extra bases.”
Shawn Duinkerk led Aruba’s offense with two steals and two singles, the first of which scored two runs in the first.
“I just wanted to do my job as the fifth batter, getting RBIs and getting runners in,” Duinkerk said. “I got a fastball down the middle on both hits.”
Aruba wasn’t just aggressive on the basepaths. The Latin American champs didn’t miss many fastballs.
After Saipan scored twice in the bottom of the first inning via one hit, an error and three walks, Aruba would get the runs back in the third on the second of four Saipan errors after Mitchell Martes and Duinkerk led off the inning with back-to-back singles. The runs scored via a Richinell Matos sacrifice fly and a fielding error. Aruba also had two more steals in the inning.
Aruba would go up by six with single runs in the fourth (Jiandido Tromp double and Martes RBI single) and sixth (Duinkerk reached on one-out error, stole second, and scored on Chadwick Tromp’s double down the left-field line).
Matos would earn the win despite a shaky start and allowing two hits and three walks in 3¤ innings.
“Normally our starting pitcher throws 60 balls, but he was throwing a lot of bases on balls and pitches, so we knew we had to go to the bullpen and used a lot of guys,” said Aruba head coach Rayborn Didder. “Our guys have good stuff and we like to use a lot of pitchers. They almost always keep us in the game.”
Aruba relievers Abraham Taveras and Juan Carlos Moncion would pitch no-hit, shutout ball with no walks and four strikeouts over the next 2ª innings, but Saipan would finish with a flourish, jumping on Marc Danies in the seventh.
The Asia-Pacific champs had four hits and two runs before Aruba would end the game by throwing out Jesse Yamagishi at third on a 9-6-5 relay throw from right to shortstop to third.
Richard Delacruz singled twice for Saipan.
“I’m proud of our team playing in this for the first time and finishing strong,” said Guerrero. “Our team never says die so that last inning shows we will be competitive to the end.”
San Nicholas,Aruba (1-0) 402 101 0 — 8 8 5
Saipan (0-1) 200 000 2 — 4 6 4
Matos, Taveras (4), Moncion (5), Danies (7) and Tromp; Palacios, Nakamura (4), Guerrero (6) and Ngeskebie, Yamagishi (4); WP-Matos (1-0); LP-Palacios (0-1); Repeat hitters: Martes (A), Duinkerk (A); Delacruz (S); Extra-base hits: 2B: J. Tromp (A), C. Tromp (A)