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Pacific Mini Games start with a home run

The Northern Marianas 2022 Pacific Mini Games could not have commenced on a bigger note than the mega Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Island (CNMI) and Guam baseball rivalry on Thursday night in Saipan.

A night before the opening ceremony held Friday night, the hosts held court in a 4-1 win at the start of the baseball competition.

It was the opening game for both CNMI and their old-time rivals from Guam.

CNMI scored two runs in the bottom of the third off two triples and Franco Nakamura hit a solo homer in the fourth inning to take a comfortable 3-0 off Guam starter Sean Balauro.

Guam managed to get on the board in the top of the 5th innings when Javen Pangelinan drilled a two-out single up the middle to drive in the first run.

The hosts and favourites threatened to add to the lead by loading the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but relief veteran Paul Pangelinan forced their designated hitter to pop out to the catcher that killed the threat.

The Northern Marianas 2022 Pacific Mini Games could not have commenced on a bigger note than the mega Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Island (CNMI) and Guam baseball rivalry on Thursday night in Saipan. Picture: NMPMG2022

CNMI added an insurance run in the sixth inning on an RBI double.

The match was played at the Francisco “Tan Ko” M. Palacios Basefield Field.

Baseball has not appeared on the Pacific Games sports program since the 2011 edition in New Caledonia when the Northern Mariana Islands won the gold medal.

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The host nation are the defending champions in the sport and favourites for the gold medal but will face stiff challenges from previous gold medal winners at the Pacific Mini Games in Palau and Guam.

CNMI, Guam, Palau, Solomon Islands and Fiji are the five participating countries vying for the medals in the sport.

The opening ceremony is being held tonight in CNMI, and the games are being held in Saipan, Tinian, and Rota from June 17-25.

 

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