Guam’s start to the World Baseball 15U Oceania Qualifier was almost as good as the weather Tuesday afternoon with the home team defeating New Zealand 14-4 via 10-run rule at Paseo. Guam scored eight runs in their first two innings, weathered a short rally from New Zealand in the third, and closed out action on a walk-off RBI on the first day of the tournament.
There are only three teams competing in this Oceania Qualifier in Guam, New Zealand and CNMI. With the shortage of teams and the need of games to play for a tournament standard, one team will be tasked with playing a back-to-back. So right after their showdown with Guam, New Zealand suited up for CNMI and defeated them 18-1.
Guam’s Franklin Ninete Jr. had the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth up 12-4. Ninete smacked a grounder deep left and an error in the outfield allowed all three runners to make it home to final the score.
Guam scored 14 runs on 12 hits and committed only two errors.
Winning pitcher Nolan Babauta was retired after two innings with Guam up 8-0 before relief Zhavier Panes took over in the third. New Zealand was able to find their groove against Panes registering three hits and four runs. Lead hits from Brooklyn Te Kawa and Branson Matsumoto stirred the pot and a two-RBI double from Jacob Wildbore had the visitors mounting a comeback.
The defense held on to prevent further damage and another pitching change for Guam in the fourth brought in Ayden Aguon. Aguon earned the save with Guam closing the fifth, giving up just one hit.
In the late game, New Zealand knocked back CNMI 18-1 via mercy rule. Guam will play their double-header today against CNMI at noon and then New Zealand again at 3 p.m.