After a long wait of 55 years, Cuba won its eighth title of the Caribbean Series, defeating Mexico 3-2 in the final of San Juan 2015, Sunday at Hiram Bithorn stadium in the capital of Puerto Rico.
The right Yosvany Torres pitched a two-hitter, Frederich Cepeda and Luis La O drove in runs in the first two innings and Yulieski Gourriel descagó homer in the eighth to give the victory to the Pinar del Rio Vegueros on Culiacan Tomateros before 7,634 fans .
Leveraging the benefits of the format, Cuba won the championship, although it had overall record of 3-3. Five of the six matches of Mexico, which also had 3-3 were decided by one run.
The West Indians picked up the scepter despite having suffered absences shortstop and pitcher Dainer Moreira Wladimir Gutierrez, who left the team in the second game of the series.
For Cuba, this is his eighth championship in their history, breaking a tie they had with Venezuela with 7, and now tied with Mexico itself in the history list.
Cuban teams won seven of the 12 editions, including the last five in the first phase (1949-1960) of the Caribbean Series, which left after removal of professional baseball in the communist island.
Cuba returned to the event last year in Margarita Island, Venezuela, represented by the Oranges of Villa Clara, which ended 1-3 mark. Pinar del Rio had identical record in the preliminary round in San Juan, but outscored the Santurce Crabbers in the Puerto Rican battle for the final spot in the semifinals, where he removed to favorite Caribbean Anzoategui in Venezuela, undefeated so far.
Mexico failed in his attempt to become the fourth country to win three consecutive editions of the event. Yaquis de Obregón won in 2013 in Hermosillo Hermosillo Naranjeros Margarita Island last year. Cuba (five between 1956-1960), Puerto Rico (1953-1955) and Dominican Republic (1997-98) are the countries with three straight titles.
Cepeda batted 4-5 with two doubles and a triple and five RBIs in the semifinal against Venezuela and 2-4 with promoted in the final. In total, went 8-17 (.471) with seven RBIs in his first Caribbean Series.
Torres (1-0) allowed one run, was not given tickets and fanned five batters. Joey Meneses until he doubled opening the fifth. Anhony Vazquez (0-1) was the pitcher defeated.
The Tomateros scored their first run in the fifth inning and added another in the eighth, when came to have runners on second and third bases with two outs, but reliever Hector Mendoza dominated Meneses with shallow fly to right to end the rebellion .
For the Caribbean Series next year in Santo Domingo, capital of Dominican Republic, Cuba is expected to participate again as a guest country, however a final announcement will be made after the organizing committee do a feasibility study.
The Caribbean Baseball Confederation reported Sunday that Cuba could host the tournament in the near future, but only after permanent member of the entity is made and modify the timing of their National Series to crown a champion in winter.
Sunday, February 8, 2015
The series victory had historical implications beyond Perth taking home its fourth title in the five-year existence of the new ABL. With the win, Western Australia moved into a second-place tie with South Australia on the all-time Claxton Shield premiership list. The victory also came one night after Perth leveled the championship series with a tenth-inning win.
"We're a bunch of fighters," Tim Kennelly said. "We've done that for years, so it was good to bounce back with that win."
Perth scored early and often in the ballgame, beginning from inning one. After Joey Wong walked to lead off the ballgame, Tim Kennelly lashed a two-run home run to left field to put the Heat ahead 2-0 before the Bite could record an out. Kennelly drove in three runs over the nine innings, and went 2-for-6 at the plate. Perth pulled away further in the next frame, putting up a four-spot on RBI doubles from Brian Pointer and Tim Kennelly, and a two-run home run off the bat of Tim Smith.
Despite trailing early, the Bite still showed sharp teeth as the contest wore on, clawing back for three runs in the bottom of the fourth frame. Tom Brice laced a one-out double to right field, and advanced to third on Dening's subsequent two-bagger. Craig Maddox then smashed a three-run bomb over the centrefield fence that scored Brice and Dening.
But Perth kept pouncing ahead, preceding Adelaide's three-run fourth with a three-run half-inning of its own, led by a two-run single by Allan de San Miguel, and another trifecta of runs crossed the plate in the top of the seventh inning. De San Miguel went 1-for-4 on the night. The veteran catcher earned the series Most Valuable Player award for his consistent production both at the plate and behind it in the three games, including the game-winning hit in the top of the tenth inning in Game 2.
"It's a pretty special moment for my career out here in Australia," de San Miguel said. "It's been a hell of a year. We've had our ups and downs and adversity, and to come through with that clutch hit last night and win tonight, it's a special moment."
Adelaide added another run in the bottom of the eighth inning, on a solo shot off the bat of Dening, who finished the game 4-for-4 with a double, a pair of home runs and three RBIs. The Bite also put two runners on with two outs in the bottom of the ninth before Perth moundminder Scott Mitchinson got Tom Brice to fly out to centre field to end the game.
"Perth got the job done tonight," Adelaide manager Brooke Knight said. "It's a shame to end on that note but take no credit away from our guys. They've fought and fought this season and their character as a group is undeniable."
After going 10-13 prior to the 17 Dec. All-Star Game, the Heat went 19-7 the remainder of the season, including the postseason.
"These guys have battled back from so much," Perth manager Steve Fish said. "It's an incredible feeling."