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USA Baseball to Host Cuba in Friendship Series

Press Release USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation announced on Wednesday that the two international baseball powers will continue their home-and-home international friendship series in the U.S. this July. 2015 will mark the fourth consecutive year the two countries have met on the baseball diamond for a five-game series. The U.S. hosted in 2013, while Cuba hosted the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in 2012 and 2014.

Co-hosted by the Charlotte Knights and the Durham Bulls, the 2015 series will be contested entirely in the state of North Carolina. The two nations will open and close the series at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., on July 1 and 6, while the Durham Bulls will host games on July 2 and 3 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and the Charlotte Knights will host play on the Fourth of July at BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte.

“It is a thrill to bring the Cuban National Team to North Carolina for five competitive, entertaining games in Cary, Durham and Charlotte, this summer,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “Building on the success of the first three years of this renewed friendship series should make for an incredible experience for the players, coaches, fans and the international baseball community.”

After a 16-year hiatus, USA and Cuba resumed a yearly international friendship series on the baseball field in 2012 with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team traveling to Havana for an intense five-game series that saw the host nation score a 3-2 series victory. In 2013 (in the U.S.) and 2014 (in Cuba), the host nations dominated play with five-game sweeps. In three years of renewed rivalry, Cuba leads the series 8-7.

“It’s exciting to be entering the fourth consecutive year of international friendship series between these two historic baseball countries,” said World Baseball Softball Confederation Ambassador, Antonio Castro. “The games in Cuba in 2014 were an incredibly positive experience for the players and fans, and we look forward to the same kind of atmosphere this year in the United States.”

The USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., which opened in 2007, has been a friendly home to the Collegiate National Team program. The Collegiate National Team sports a 16-1-1 all-time record at the NTC, including a 3-2 victory in its only previous match up against Cuba in Cary.

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park has also been good to the Collegiate National Team. Since opening in 1995, and becoming an unofficial yearly home to the team in 2003, the Collegiate National Team has posted a 44-7 record in 51 contests there. The Collegiate National Team and Cuba have met once before at the DBAP, with Team USA winning the final game of the 2013 series, 5-3, in front of a joyous hometown crowd.

July 4, 2015 will mark the first game USA Baseball has played in the Charlotte Knights new home, BB&T Ballpark. Opened prior to the 2014 season, the Collegiate National Team was scheduled to play the Chinese Taipei National Team in the ballpark last July, but inclement weather forced a postponement and the game was ultimately made up in Durham. USA and Cuba did meet at the Knight’s previous home, Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., in August of 1988, with the Red, White and Blue winning both contests.

Since USA Baseball began keeping official records following the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, the Collegiate National Team is 35-65 in 100 meetings with the Cuban National Team; however, Team USA holds a 22-20 advantage in games hosted in the U.S., most recently winning all five games of the 2013 international friendship series.

The 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will be managed by St. John’s University skipper, Ed Blankmeyer. The remainder of the coaching staff and players invited to the Collegiate National Team and Collegiate National Team Training Camp will be announced throughout the spring.

For more information on the Collegiate National Team, please visit USABaseball.com.

Posted in College, Latin, N. America0 Comments

Cuba Wins First Caribbean Series Title Since 1960

Cuba used a great start from Yosvani Torres and a home run from Yulieski Gourriel (2-for-4) to pull of an upset once again and claim the 2015 Caribbean Series title defeating Mexico 3-2.

Torres pitched a solid six innings giving up just one run while striking out five. Hector Mendoza pitched the final four outs to pick up the save.

Frederich Cepeda (2-for-4) had a two-out RBI single, and Gourriel hit a solo home run in the eighth to lead Cuba to the championship.

Down 3-1 Mexico looked to claim its third straight title. In the bottom of the eighth Eric Farris (1-for-4) had a two-out RBI single to make it a one run game.

Cuba’s Cepeda was named the tournament MVP after going 6-for-8 in the final two games driving in six runs.

This is the eighth time Cuba has won the tournament. It won seven times from 1949-1960 and only returned back to the tournament last year.

Full Box Score

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Caribbean Series: Mexico and Cuba Advance to Final

The final of the 2015 Caribbean Series is set and the team that went 4-0 in the round robin didn’t make it, but the team that went 1-3 did.

Mexico was the first team to punch their ticket to the final with a 5-4 win over the Dominican Republic. It was a close game with the Dominican having the tying run at third base with just one out in the bottom of the ninth, but they were unable to tie it up.

Mexico jumped out to a 4-0 lead after scoring three runs in the second and adding one more in the third. With a throwing error by Dominican third baseman Hector Gomez, Mexico would score three unearned runs in the second. An inning later Mexico would get one more after Joey Meneses (1-for-3) singled with two outs. He moved to second on a wild pitch and then scored on a Russell Branyan (1-for-2) RBI single.

After adding a fifth unanswered run, the Dominican Republic finally fought back and fight back they did. In the sixth inning the Dominican finally got on the board with a pair of runs to make it 5-2. In a turn of fate, Hector Gomez reached on a throwing error with two outs allowing Yefri Perez (1-for-2) to score the first run. Gomez wound up at third after the error and would score one hitter later on a Elian Herrera (1-for-4) RBI single.

The Dominican would add a single run in the eighth and ninth but come up short as Mexico avenged their 3-2 loss on Thursday to advance to the finals on Sunday. Terance Marin picked up the win tossing six innings allowing just two unearned runs. Jay Jackson picked up the save.

Full Box Score

In perhaps the biggest surprise of the tournament, previously undefeated Venezuela fell to Cuba. Venezuela jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a run in the third and three runs in the fourth. A couple of walks and a RBI single from Ehire Adrianza (1-for-5) to take a 1-0 lead. With three more in the fourth it looked like Venezuela would stay undefeated.

Then the sixth inning came. Cuba would get three runs to get itself back in the game. Yulieski Gourriel (2-for-5) singled followed by a single from Alfredo Despaigne (1-for-5). Two batters later Frederich Cepeda (4-for-5) tripled in both Gourriel and Despaigne and would score himself on a throwing error making it 4-3.

Cuba would explode for five more runs in the seventh inning. Cepeda was there once again with the big hit. He would clear the bases driving in three with a one out double.

Norge Ruiz picked up the win with 4.1 innings of relief. He allowed five hits and no runs. Amalio Diaz took the loss going just a third of an inning in relief.

The win puts Cuba in the final against Mexico at 6:30 pm on Sunday.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic 5, Venezuela 6
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2, Cuba 3

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela 6, Cuba 2
6:30 pm Mexico 2, Dominican Republic 3

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico 2, Venezuela 4
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 3, Dominican Republic 2

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm Mexico 5, Dominican Republic 4
6:30 pm Cuba 8, Venezuela 4

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm Cuba vs. Mexico

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Caribbean Series: Puerto Picks Up Walk Off Win; Semifinals Set

The round robin portion of the 2015 Caribbean Series is finished and the semifinals start tomorrow. In the last day of round robin games, Venezuela finished off Mexico 4-2 to finish with a perfect 4-0 record. They will have the #1 seed in the semifinals and play Cuba on Saturday.

The game was a good one. Mexico took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Rico Noel (1-for-3) led off the game with a single to center field, then stole second. Then with one out, Eric Farris (2-for-3) singled to drive in Neol and put Mexico up quickly.

That was all Mexico would get off Venezuela starter Junior Guerra who tossed five innings. Guerra allowed only three hits while striking out seven. However once Guerra was pulled Mexico struck again. Once again Farris was in the middle of things. Farris led off the sixth inning with a single and soon Mexico had the bases loaded with no outs. Carlos Silva, who didn’t get an out, was pulled in favor of Jean Toledo. Toledo quickly gave up a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Mexico. But Toledo settled down and got a double play ground ball to limit the damage.

Venezuela quickly struck back to tie the game at 2-2. Orlando Arcia singled to start off the bottom half of the inning and would come around a batter later on a Alexi Amarista (1-for-3) RBI double. Two batters later Felix Perez (1-for-3) doubled in Amarista to tie the game.

The game would stay tied until the bottom of the eighth when Venezuela would again plate two runs. This time the big blow came with two outs on a two-run home run by Oswaldo Arcia (1-for-3). The Arcia home run came off of Mexico reliever Manny Barreda who took the loss. Amalio Diaz picked up the win with 0.2 innings of relief work. Hassan Pena finished off the game picking up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Full Box Score

In the final game of the round robin, host Puerto Rico finally got on the board with a walk-off win over Dominican Republic. It was a back-and-forth game with Puerto Rico jumping out on top early with a run in the bottom of the third inning on an Enrique Hernandez (1-for-4) RBI single.

The Dominican Republic came back to tie the game in the top of the fifth on a solo home run by Maikel Franco (2-for-4). Franco would drive in both of the Dominican’s runs in the game.

The tie was not long lived though as Puerto Rico came right back in the bottom half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead on a Reymond Fuentes (1-for-4) RBI single. Luis Figueroa (2-for-3) led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second before Fuentes gave them the lead.

The game would stay 2-1 until the top of the ninth when the Dominican came back once again to tie the game. After the first two batters struck out, Elian Herrera (1-for-3) doubled, advanced to third on a balk, and scored on a Franco RBI single.

Some excitement for the hometown team came in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, A.J. Jiminez walked and was pinch run for by “Ozzie” Osvaldo Martinez. Then on a 0-2 count, Daniel Ortiz (1-for-4) tripled to left field scoring Martinez from first giving Puerto Rico a walk-off win in front of the home crowd.

Tony Pena Jr. took the loss giving up the run in the bottom of the ninth. Fernando Cabrera gave up the tying run in the top of the ninth blowing the save, but earned the win courtesy of Ortiz’s RBI triple.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic 5, Venezuela 6
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2, Cuba 3

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela 6, Cuba 2
6:30 pm Mexico 2, Dominican Republic 3

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico 2, Venezuela 4
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 3, Dominican Republic 2

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm Mexico vs. Dominican Republic
6:30 pm Cuba vs. Venezuela

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Venezuela 4-0
2. Dominican Republic 2-2
3. Mexico 2-2
4. Cuba 1-3
5. Puerto Rico 1-3

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Caribbean Series: Dominican Republic with Walks Off Win, Helps Cuba Advance

There is just one day left in the 2015 Caribbean Series first round. Venezuela is on to the next round after starting off 3-0. Venezuela kicked off day four of the tournament with a 6-2 win over Cuba. Cuba was aided by a later win in the day from the Dominican Republic helping them to advance and sending host Puerto Rico home.

Venezuela used a four run third inning to put the game out of reach and a strong outing from Cesar Valdez. Valdez went seven strong innings giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out eight. Both runs came on solo home runs.

Alexander Malleta (2-for-4) homered in the second inning to put Cuba on the board. Luis Valdes (1-for-4) also homered in the seventh. Yoanni Yera took the loss tossing just 2.1 innings allowing four runs on six hits.

Balbino Fuenmayor (3-for-4) homered and drove in a pair of runs to lead Venezuela’s offensive attack. Gorkys Hernandez (2-for-5) tripled and scored a run from the lead off spot, while Jose Gil (2-for-4) scored twice.

Full Box Score

In Game 2 of the day, the Dominican Republic picked up a 3-2 win over Mexico. With the win, Cuba advanced to the semifinals and Puerto Rico’s run was ended.

Mexico held the lead for almost the entire game. Jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the third, Amilcar Gaxiola pitched five shutout innings. Two more pitchers came in in relief to hold the Dominican Republic scoreless for another two innings. The Dominican did not get on the board until the eighth an inning after Mexico made it 2-0.

Down 2-0, the Dominican loaded the bases with no outs but could only scratch one run across the board. And it came on a wild pitch by Jesus Castillo. They would walk off in the ninth inning on a Elian Herrera (2-for-5) RBI single scoring Leury Garcia (2-for-5).

Josh Lueke picked up the win in relief for the Dominican. While Oscar Villarreal took the loss giving up two runs on three hits in just 0.2 innings.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic 5, Venezuela 6
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2, Cuba 3

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela 6, Cuba 2
6:30 pm Mexico 2, Dominican Republic 3

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm TBD
6:30 pm TBD

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Venezuela 3-0
2. Dominican Republic 2-1
3. Mexico 2-1
4. Cuba 1-3
5. Puerto Rico 0-3

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Caribbean Series: Day Two Recap

Day 2 of the 2015 Caribbean Series is in the books with Mexico winning again and Cuba falling into a deep hole by losing its second straight game.

The first game of the day saw the Dominican Republic in its first action of the tournament downing Cuba 6-1. The game was close until the Dominican broke it open in the sixth inning.

The big blow for the Dominican came in the sixth inning when Willy Garcia (AA PIT) hit a two-run home run off of Cuban reliever Jonder Martinez. Garcia would finish the game 3-for-4. Leury Garcia (CHW) chipped in with three hits as well going 3-for-5.

Rafael Perez pitched well for the Dominican going 5.1 scoreless innings allowing just six hits. Five relievers finished off the game holding Cuba to just one run.

Norge Ruiz took the loss for Cuba. Offensively Yulieski Gourriel (NPB Yokohama) had another good game going 2-for-4. Luis La O went 3-for-3 and Dainer Moreir drove in the only run going 2-for-4.

Full Box Score

Game 2 of the day was a good one. A back-and-forth affair with Mexico pulling out the 3-2 win over host Puerto Rico. Mexico took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh inning just after Enrique Hernandez (MIA) tied up the game with a solo home run in the sixth.

Mexico starter Francisco Campos did not last long going only 1.2 innings giving up four hits and one run before being pulled. Juan Delgadillo picked up the win tossing four innings in relief. He gave up just one run on two hits. Oscar Villarreal picked up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Cuba

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Cuba
6:30 pm Mexico vs. Dominican Republic

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm TBD
6:30 pm TBD

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Mexico 2-0
2. Venezuela 1-0
3. Dominican Republic 1-0
4. Puerto Rico 0-2
5. Cuba 0-2

Posted in Latin, Tournaments0 Comments

Caribbean Series: Venezuela Downs Puerto Rico in Game Two

The first day of the 2015 Caribbean Series is in the books with Mexico and Venezuela picking up wins. In Game 2, Venezuela downed host Puerto Rico 5-2 behind the strong pitching of Daryl Thompson.

Thompson tossed 6 innings allowing just one run on three hits while striking out five. Thompson spent most of the 2014 season pitching for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League.

Giovanni Soto (AA CLE) took the loss for Puerto Rico. The young lefty had a good 2014 season out of the bullpen for AA Akron. The 23-year old native Puerto Rican tossed four runs giving up all five runs.

Offensively Alexi Amarista had a great day at the plate. He tripled in a pair of runs going 2-for-4. Niuman Romero also drove in two runs with a double going 1-for-2.

Full Box Score

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Dominican Republic
6:30 pm Mexico vs. Puerto Rico

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic vs. Mexico
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Cuba

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Mexico
6:30 pm Cuba vs. Dominican Republic

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Cuba vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm TBD
6:30 pm TBD

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Mexico 1-0
2. Venezuela 1-0
3. Dominican Republic
4. Puerto Rico 0-1
5. Cuba 0-1

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Curacao Baseball Week Organizers Release Aftermovie for 2014 Clinics

The organizers of the Curacao Baseball Week, which includes coaching seminars and kids clinics, have issued an aftermovie for the 2014 edition.

The week long event took place at the beginning of December. It will continue in 2015 and 2016 again in early December. The purpose is to promote baseball in Curacao, support talent development, and raise money for the local baseball community. The event started in 2013.

MLB players Andrelton Simmons and Didi Gregorius among others were on hand to help the youth of Curacao.

Click to find more information on the Curacao Baseball Week.

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Caribbean Series: Mexico Takes Game One Over Cuba

Game 1 of the 2015 Caribbean Series is in the books with Mexico taking a 2-1 win over Cuba. The round robin round will go through Friday February 6th. The last place team will be dropped and the top four go onto the semifinal round.

Anthony Vasquez got the start for Mexico. The lefty, who spent time in Baltimore’s minor leagues with Norfolk and Bowie, went five solid innings giving up just one run on five hits. He did not factor into the decision but pitched well for Mexico. Terance Marin (W, 1-0/AA CHW) picked up the win in relief. Marin went 2.2 scoreless innings in relief allowing just one hit. Oscar Villarreal picked up the save finishing off the final two outs of the game.

Freddy Alvarez started and pitched well for Cuba. He went six solid innings giving up just one run on two hits. Jonder Martinez (L, 0-1) took the loss going just a third of an innings giving up a walk and a run. Yulieski Gourriel scored the only run for Cuba after walking, stealing second, and coming home on a Frederich Cepeda single.

Mexico only managed three hits but scratched out two runs. Rico Noel (AAA SDP) doubled and scored a run. Walter Ibarra (AAA LAD) came in with a pinch-hit RBI single to give Mexico the go ahead run.

Full Box Score

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs Venezuela

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Dominican Republic
6:30 pm Mexico vs. Puerto Rico

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic vs. Mexico
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Cuba

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Mexico
6:30 pm Cuba vs. Dominican Republic

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Cuba vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm TBD
6:30 pm TBD

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Mexico 1-0
2. Puerto Rico
3. Venezuela
4. Dominican Republic
5. Cuba 0-1

Posted in Latin, Tournaments0 Comments

Schedule for 2015 Caribbean Series

The 2015 Caribbean Series kicks off tomorrow with a match up between Cuba and Mexico. All games will take place at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The round robin first round goes through Friday February 6. The fifth placed team will be dropped and the final four will compete in the semis and finals the following two days.

The schedule for the 2015 tournament is below. Games can be seen on ESPN Deportes or ESPN 3.

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba vs. Mexico
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba vs. Dominican Republic
6:30 pm Mexico vs. Puerto Rico

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Cuba

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Cuba
6:30 pm Mexico vs. Dominican Republic

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm TBD
6:30 pm TBD

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

Posted in Latin, News, Tournaments0 Comments

Teams Set for 2015 Caribbean Series in San Juan, Puerto Rico

The 2015 Caribbean Series will begin in just a few short days in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The series will be held at Hiram Bithorn Stadium which may be familiar to many of you since the Montreal Expos played part of their home games there in 2003 and 2004 before moving to Washington D.C. It has also hosted many other events including parts of the World Baseball Classic and a regular season series between the New York Mets and Florida Marlins in 2010.

The tournament will follow the format with two phases. The first phase will last from February 2-6 and consist of a single round-robin competition. The standings will then be decided after this round and the fifth placed team will be eliminated. The top four will continue on to play a semifinal and final round the following two days.

The field is set and ready to go. Here are the teams that will be participating in this years Caribbean Series.

Mexico – Tomateros de Culiacan – Culiacan has not been here for eleven years but they return after defeating the Charros de Jalisco in the championship. They are looking for their third Series championship having won in 2002 and 1996.

Dominican Republic – Gigantes del Cibao – This is their first Dominican championship having finished as runner-ups three separate times. They look to bring the title back to the Dominican after a two year absence.

Cuba – Vegueros de Pinar del Rio – The Vegueros won the Cuban National Series 53 last year. The league runs too long for the current champion to participate in the Caribbean Series, so last year’s winner competes. This was their fourth Cuban championship.

Puerto Rico – Cangrejeros de Santurce – The Cangrejeros will host the tournament in their home park after winning their thirteenth championship. They have won five Caribbean Series titles including the last for their country in 2000.

Venezuela – Caribes de Anzoategui – The Caribes swept through the LVBP winning every phase to earn a trip back to the Caribbean Series where they last competed in 2011. They are looking for their first Caribbean Series championship and the first for Venezuela since 2009.

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Final 2014 IBAF World Baseball Rankings: Japan Takes No. 1 Spot

With the conclusion of the 21U Baseball World Cup and the Central American and Caribbean Games, the final world standings have been released. There were only a few movers in the top 10 including Japan taking the No. 1 spot from the USA after making it to the finals of the 21 U BWC. The Netherlands also over took the Dominican Republic for No. 5 on the list.

The biggest mover in the top 30 was the Czech Republic moving up seven spots to No. 20. Argentina fell the furthest falling six spots to No. 28. The top 12 teams will be allowed to compete in the inaugural Premier 12 tournament to be held in Chinese Taipei in November 2015.

Final 2014 IBAF World Baseball Rankings:

Rank Nation  Points
2013 Trending
1  Japan 785.18 2 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
2  USA 766.02 1 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
3  Cuba 662.98 3
4  Chinese Taipei 605.48 4
5  Netherlands 433.50 6 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
6  Dominican Republic 379.18 5 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
7  Canada 353.52 7  –
8  South Korea 340.90 8
9  Puerto Rico 291.50 9
10  Venezuela 269.00 10
11  Italy 196.18 11
12  Mexico 136.78 12
13  Panama 132.92 13  –
14  Australia 127.82 14
15  Brazil 116.61 15
16  Nicaragua 110.77 18 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized2
17  Spain 105.52 17
18  Germany 78.90 19 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
19  Colombia 69.00 16 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized3
20  Czech Republic 68.93 27 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized7
21  China 68.25 20 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
22  Israel 55.47 26 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized4
23  Philippines 52.40 23
24  Pakistan 51.00 21 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized3
25  Great Britain 50.56 24 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized1
26  New Zealand 50.00 28 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized2
27  France 46.75 32 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized5
28  Argentina 42.91 22 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized6
29  South Africa 33.00 31 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized2
30  Thailand 30.50 25 Year End Men’s Baseball World Ranking finalized5

Complete Rankings

Posted in Asia, Europe, Latin, N. America, News, Oceania0 Comments

Cuba Wins 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games

VERACRUZ, Mexico – Cuba, No. 3 in the world, defeated No. 18 Nicaragua 9-3 in the championship of the Central American and Caribbean Games (CACG) to regain its title. It was Cuba’s 15th title in 18 attempts at the CACG.

New reforms in Cuba allowed several players return after playing professionally in Japan. Three national team players, Alfredo Despaigne, Frederich Cepeda and Yulieski Gourriel, returned after the end of the NPB season to play for Cuba and help lead them to the title. The players were given special permission to play in Japan if they returned to the national team after the end of the season in Japan.

Defending CACG champions the Dominican Republic finished off Puerto Rico 8-1 in the bronze medal game.

Mexico got a much needed 5th place which vaults them to 12th in the final international world rankings of the year. This allows them to play in the inaugural Premier 12 Pro Baseball World Championships in 2015. The new tournament will be hosted by Chinese Taipei next November.

FINAL STANDINGS 

1. Cuba
2. Nicaragua
3. Dominican Republic
4. Puerto Rico
5. Mexico
6. Venezuela
7. Panama
8. Guatemala

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Guyana Baseball Federation partners with E-Networks to broadcast nation’s first-ever Baseball ‘Talent Search’ Reality TV Show

By IBAF

Guyana’s Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport has expressed great interest in the rise of baseball’s popularity in Guyana.

Less than three years after its establishment, Guyana’s national baseball federation, theGuyana Baseball League (GBL), has announced a partnership with Guyana cable TV/Info Tech giant E-Networks Inc. on the production of the nation’s first-ever baseball reality TV show,“Baseball Star”.

The joint venture between the GBL and E-Networks Inc.—which completed its first week of baseball auditions/filming at the end of Februarywill see initial broadcast delivery of Baseball Star’s episodes through E-Networks’ channel 1 in HD. The week following each episode, E-Networks will distribute Baseball Star content across its various media platforms and to all the major and local network television stations throughout Guyana to build a national audience.

USA Baseball CEO Paul Seiler—whose federation has given support to GBL on mapping out a strategic-plan for growth—applauded the concept of Guyana’s Baseball Star ‘talent search’ reality TV show.

“Truly groundbreaking. It will be interesting to watch this unfold,” said Seiler. “Well done.”

Guyana’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, has taken note of the new baseball reality TV show and also expressed great interest in the pace with which the GBL has been growing baseball’s popularity in Guyana, especially among school-aged children, all of which has prompted the Ministry Of Culture, Youth & Sport to post an official statement on its website just a few weeks ago, in order to speak on baseball’s advancement in Guyana.

A similar ‘talent search’ in India generated massive national interest from the media and young aspiring baseball athletes, the subject of which has grown into Disney’s “Million Dollar Arm” movie, which is set to be released to worldwide theaters and audiences beginning in May.

The GBL, under President Robin Singh, was only established in 2011 and became recognised the following year as Guyana’s national governing body for baseball by the International Baseball Federation.

Situated in South America with neighbours Venezuela—where baseball is the national sport—and the emerging baseball country of Brazil, Guyana appears to be uniquely positioned for growth, to establish National Teams and to enter into international competitions in the short- to mid-term.

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New Baseball World Rankings – USA Ends Cuba’s Four Year Reign

USA Baseball has ended Cuba’s 4-year reign at the top of the World Baseball Rankings after a productive year in 2013.

The International Baseball Federation has used the World Baseball Ranking system since 2009, and each year Cuba has been at the top.

Team USA had a disappointing second round exit at the World Baseball Classic, but then picked up gold medals at the 12U Baseball World Cup and the 18U Baseball World Cup. Also giving Team USA points this summer was its “Friendship” series with Cuba where the USA’s National Collegiate Team won all five games.

Also jumping up in the standings was Japan who went from the third ranked country to the second also surpassing Cuba in the process. In the big tournaments of the year, Japan placed third at the World Baseball Classic, second at the 18U World Baseball Cup, and third again at the 12U Baseball World Cup.

The Dominican Republic made one of the bigger jumps in the standings after its win at the World Baseball Classic going from 13th a year ago to 5th.

The Netherlands remain the top European country in the standings as they swapped places with Canada moving up to 6th place.

The Americas continue to be the strongest in the polls collecting eleven of the top twenty spots. Asia and Europe combined take up 40% of the top twenty with both continents placing four teams. The last top twenty team comes from Oceania with Australia coming in at 14th.

Africa’s top representative is South Africa in at number 31.

Men’s Baseball World Rankings Top 10:

1. USA
2. Japan
3. Cuba
4. Chinese Taipei
5. Dominican Republic
6. Netherlands
7. Canada
8. South Korea
9. Puerto Rico
10. Venezuela

Complete World Rankings

Posted in Asia, Europe, Latin, N. America, News, Oceania0 Comments

Cuban Slugger Jose Abreu Defects

According to the el Nuevo Herald, Jose Abreu has left Cuba and is reportedly in another Caribbean nation in order to defect to the USA. Ben Badler at Baseball America has also confirmed the story.

Abreu is one of the stars from Cuba. He tied for the lead in home runs in the 2013 World Baseball Classic hitting .360/.385/.760.

He is looking to follow in the footsteps of recent defectors Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, and Aroldis Champman. Puig defected in 2012 and signed a 7-year, $42 million contract and has become a sensation since being called up by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Abreu is a power-hitting first baseman. At the age of only 26, he stands to land a huge contract once he has established residency in another country. It will be a few months before he is able to sign with a team, but look for a team to make a splash in the off season with Abreu.

At 6’3″ and 250 lbs, Abreu is an imposing figure at the plate. He has tremendous power to all fields and has proven himself not only in Cuba, but on the international stage as well.

The lack of first base free agents in the market this upcoming off season will really help Abreu’s value on the open market.

He is the second player to defect this summer. In early July, 26-year old pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne defected while on the way to the Netherlands for the World Port Tournament.

Posted in Latin, News0 Comments

MLB Says No to Cuba in Caribbean Series

In mid-June Cuba said it would rejoin the Caribbean Series after a 53-year absence. However, that may now be in jeopardy thanks to Major League Baseball.

A Major League Baseball official told the organizers of the Caribbean Series that it would not cooperate with the 2014 tournament if Cuba is allowed to play.

Consent from MLB is crucial since many of the players that play for the teams are under contract to MLB clubs. But the Baseball Confederation of the Caribbean is working on obtaining a license from the US Government to allow a Cuban team in the 2014 tournament scheduled for February 1-7 in Venezuela.

In the early years of the tournament, Cuba was dominant. It won seven titles from 1949-1960. Then Fidel Castro took over, and he dissolved professional baseball canceling the 1961 tournament. After a nine year absence, the tournament restarted in 1970 without Cuba. That is how it has been ever since.

So earlier this year when it was announced that Cuba would rejoin the Series, there were many people who were very excited. Now that all may be in jeopardy because of two governments that can’t get along.

Another hitch in the plan is the plan for the Caribbean Series to return to the United States in another four years or so. The Series has been in talks with the Miami Marlins about the possibility of using their stadium to return to the area where the tournament was played as recent as 1991.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that Cuba participates in the World Baseball Classic, which partly takes place in the USA. So many are asking why MLB would try to ban a team from Cuba from playing in the Caribbean Series when it is allowed in the WBC.

It was announced on MLB’s official website on June 11 that Cuba would be joining the Series. Just over a month later, MLB sent out an ultimatum to the Confederation.

According to Diario Libre, which obtained a copy of the letter dated July 15, MLB Vice President of Operations Kim Ng wrote to Puello that MLB would grant the Confederation 24 hours to retract its agreement with Cuba. Otherwise, MLB will decline to sign its annual Caribbean Series agreement with the Confederation. U.S. sanctions, Ng said in the letter, require MLB to apply for licenses, and there is not enough time to do so before the tournament.¹

It appears that the Confederation has until August 15 to rescind the invitation to Cuba. If they fail to do so by that day, MLB will be unable to sign the annual agreement for the 2014 tournament.

¹ Cuba Standard (2013-08-07) “MLB threatens to pull plug on Caribbean Series over Cuba

Posted in Latin, MLB, N. America, News0 Comments

USA 15U Wins Pan American Games Gold Medal

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia – The 15U USA Baseball Team defeated Cuba 6-1 on Sunday afternoon to claim the 2013 COPABE Pan American Championships. With the win, Team USA finished off the tournament with a perfect 8-0 record.

In the Championship Game, Cuba jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. It stayed that way until the bottom of the fourth when USA jumped out with five runs of its own. Andrew Vaughn (1-for-2) had the big blow of the inning hitting a three-run home run to put the Red, White, and Blue up 3-1.

That’s all Mason Thompson would need on the mound. He gave up just one run on three hits in six innings. He struck out six earning the win for Team USA. Thompson helped himself out at the plate as well. In the five-run fourth inning, Thompson contributed with a RBI triple.

Team USA ran through the pool play undefeated and then almost fell in the semifinal round to Panama. They needed a two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull out the 5-4 win and advance to the finals. In that inning, Team USA scored two runs on zero hits. They were aided heavily by two Panama errors.

However, that wasn’t the first late comeback they needed. In the pool play against Cuba, Team USA scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull out an 11-9 win and remain undefeated. In that inning, the USA knocked out eight of its fifteen hits to take the late lead.

Photo Courtesy USA Baseball

Posted in Latin, Tournaments0 Comments

Mexico: The Tomateros de Culiacan Release New Stadium Design

The Tomateros de Culiacan of the Mexican Pacific League have announced the design for their new stadium.

The new stadium, slated to open in August 2014, could possibly be used for the next Caribbean Series in Mexico. The rotation for Mexico will come around once again three years after the opening of the stadium.

The stadium will seat around 18,000 fans and during the unveiling of the stadium plans, a video was released showing what it would look like.

Posted in Latin, News0 Comments

Cuban Odrisamer Despaigne Defects During Flight to the Netherlands

Once again a Cuban player has used the World Port Tournament to defect. The tournament has seen this the past two times it was played as well (Aroldis Chapman in 2009 and Gerardo Concepcion in 2011).

This time it was 26-year old Odrisamer Despaigne did the same thing during a layover in Paris at Charles de Gaulle Airport. The team suspects that Despaigne traveled to Spain where his father lives.

Despaigne just finished up his sixth season in the Cuban National Series where he pitched for the Industriales. This past season he pitched 143 innings striking out 98. He posted a 3.27 ERA and a 10-5 record.

Photo courtesy World Baseball Classic Inc.

Posted in Europe, Latin, News1 Comment

USA Baseball Announces Friendship Series with Cuba

USA Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation announced an upcoming series between the two countries Collegiate National Teams. The two will compete in an international friendship series for the second year in a row. This year, Cuba will travel to the USA and play a five-game series.

The teams will compete across three states from July 18-23.

The two teams will first face off in Des Moines, Iowa for Game 1. They will then move onto Omaha for Games 2 and 3 before heading east to North Carolina to finish off the series.

Read more here with the complete press release by USA Baseball.

Posted in College, Latin, N. America, News0 Comments

Argentina: American Expat Teaching Youth Baseball in Buenos Aires

For the past few years Paul Perry and the Buenos Aires Shankees, an expat baseball team playing the Argentina capital, have been friends of Baseball de World. And now the American expat is doing something great for the kids in Buenos Aires that we felt needed to be shared.

At a small bilingual school called Sir Thomas Malory Perry is teaching young kids the great game of baseball. The school has become the first one to adopt baseball as an official sport in a soccer crazed country.

During morning breaks, Perry teaches 6th and 7th grade students the game. But only those students who complete their homework and don’t misbehave in the classroom. The grades are broken down with the 6th graders practicing on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the 7th graders on Mondays and Wednesdays. On Fridays both grades get together to practice.

However, this is not an easy task for Perry. Baseball is not a popular sport in Argentina. Soccer rules the sports world there and most, if not all, of the students he teaches have never played the game before. Overall there are 30 players who are participating with only one, Perry’s 11-year old son Henry, that has any experience.

But experience isn’t the only issues he has run into so far. With 30 players, Perry only has 20 gloves and six practice balls. The league the Shankees play in has helped out with a few old gloves and balls, and the school has helped out by providing an equipment bag. But the kids are still in need.

They practice on a rugby field with old white sofa cushions as bases. In fact there are only two baseball fields in the city, and Perry is hoping to get approval to move the practices to one of them in the future.

The program will go year-round and hopefully the sport will catch on with some of the students. There is a Little League in the city, La Liga Metropolitana de Beisbol, and Perry hopes to be competing in that in the future.

It’s a long road ahead for the program, but it is off to a good start thanks to the hard work and dedication of Paul Perry. If you would like the help out the program in some way, contact Paul through the Shankees Website. They are in need of pretty much everything baseball related.

And if you want to learn more about the program and how the kids are doing, check them out on the Baseball Buenos Aires Facebook Page.

Posted in Latin, News1 Comment

New World Baseball Softball Body Born at Historic Tokyo Congress

Marks Milestone toward Olympic Games Inclusion

New Olympic Campaign Logo, Theme, Social Media Platforms “PlayBall2020.com” and Vision to Give Every Boy & Girl Chance to Play Ball also Launched.

Join the PlayBall2020 Lineup on Facebook and show your support!

Press Release from World Baseball Softball Confederation

TOKYO — Baseball and softball players, supporters, and fans worldwide – from professional leagues to local clubs and junior teams – have come out ‘Swinging For The Fences’ and pitching for the Olympic Games, following the launch of a global campaign to get baseball and softball back into the Games

The campaign was launched in Tokyo, one of the global power centres for the two sports. It followed an historic vote by international baseball and softball federation leaders and delegates worldwide  – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, including China, India, Iraq, Russia, Brunei, Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan, Fiji, South Africa and many other nations – to ratify a landmark constitution that unites the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF) as a single new international sporting federation, known as the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).

NEW WORLD BASEBALL SOFTBALL BODY BORN

The birth of the world’s newest international sporting federation is a milestone in the campaign to rejoin the Olympic Games sports program after being delisted in 2005.

“This is an historic day”, said IBAF president and WBSC co-president, Riccardo Fraccari. “We have brought a new level of worldwide unity and determination to our quest to return to the Games.  The 65 million currently playing baseball and softball around the world now have a single federation to rally behind.”

President Fraccari said the international baseball community was “honoured and humbled” to have the opportunity to rejoin the Olympic Games in 2020,  and thanked the IOC for guidance and trust provided in forming the new federation, which he said would “provide greater support and resources for the athletes and help to develop the sports”.

Fraccari continued: “We are on a great journey to return our global sport to the Olympic stage. We’ve been listening and learning from the Olympic Family and the IOC to understand what it takes to be included as a sport at the Olympic Games.”

“This is in the best interests of the athletes and putting the welfare of the athletes and the future of sport first, and inspiring young athletes to stand on the highest podium that an athlete can aspire to—the Olympic Games,” he said.

“We have reached a milestone in our journey to put baseball and softball back in the Olympic Games, and today I am proud to announce that the full membership of the International Baseball Federation voted to ratify the new Constitution of the World Baseball Softball Confederation.”

WBSC SHARED VISION TO REACH YOUTH

The WBSC also outlined its unique vision for the campaign. “Our vision is to give every boy and girl in the world a chance to play baseball and softball and to inspire them to take up the sport through the Olympic Games,” said ISF President and WBSC co-President, Don Porter.

“Baseball-softball is a game that anyone, anywhere can play.  There are no barriers to participation.  If you’ve got a bat and ball you can play, regardless of age, gender, social, cultural or economic stature.

“Baseball and softball help to empower women and provide pathways for women and young girls to experience and participate in sport in all cultures,” said Porter.

NEW CAMPAIGN SLOGAN, WEBSITE AND LOGO

The WBSC also revealed the theme for its Olympic Games campaign, “Swing for the Fences,” heralding a global call-to-action for baseball and softball players, supporters and teams to rally behind the Olympic Games bid.

A new website for the campaign was revealed: PlayBall2020.com. Social media platforms to engage and enable baseball and softball communities worldwide were also unveiled to highlight the massive following the sports have and to share the passion to rejoin the Olympic Games.

The WBSC’s new logo for the campaign was also unveiled. It symbolizes the unique appeal that has made baseball and softball among the world’s most watched, followed and commercially successful sporting brands and experiences.

The new federation and Olympic Games inclusion campaign, has the support of players worldwide, and was launched by two of Japans softball stars, Yukiko Ueno, who pitched the Japanese team to the Gold Medal at the Beijing Olympic Games, and Nana Okamura, a new rising star who pitched Japan to victory in U16 ISF Softball World Cup and became the youngest player ever on Japan’s national team.

ATHLETE AND PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE SUPPORT OF 2020 OLYMPIC CAMPAIGN

The WBSC’s Olympic Games campaign is also supported by professional baseball and softball leagues around the word, including Nippon Professional Baseball, Major League Baseball in the United States, Korean Baseball Organization, the Chinese Professional Baseball Leagues, and numerous league partners in Latin America, Australia and Europe, who are united in their desire to participate in the Olympic Games.

“I am sure that all of my counterparts in the professional leagues share our enthusiasm for Olympic baseball and softball,“ said Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner and former Japan US Ambassador, Ryozo Kato, who said in an emotional address to the Congress, telling delegates that baseball had helped Japan to recover and grow after the devastation of the second world war, and was a catalyst for peace, uniting nations and people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Worldwide respected Japan baseball legend, Sadaharu Oh, also made a strong personal appeal for support to get baseball back into the Olympic Games, while the President of the Japanese Olympic Committee and IOC member, Tsunekazu Takeda, said he would like to see the excitement and joy of baseball experienced by people all over the world, especially among young people.

Posted in Asia, Europe, Latin, MLB, N. America, News, Oceania, Tournaments0 Comments

Nicaragua Wins Baseball Gold at X Central American Games

Nicaragua wins thrilling Gold Medal Game against Panama to prevail in Costa Rica

Nicaragua has won the Gold Medal at the X Central American Games in San Jose, Costa Rica. The team of manager Noel Areas defeated Panama 6-5 in the Gold Medal Game. Ofilio Castro drove in the decisive run with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth.

Nicaragua had overcome a 3-4 deficit in the bottom of the eighth to take a 5-4 lead, but Panama came back against closer Gustavo Martinez in the top of the ninth, setting up the dramatic finish.

The baseball tournament at the 2013 Central American Games in Costa Rica was played from March 12 to 17 at Estadio Antonio Escarré. Six teams participated with Nicaragua winning Gold, Panama Silver and El Salvador Bronze. Guatemala, Costa Rica and Honduras were in the tournament as well.

Official Website X Central American Games

Courtesy IBAF.org

Posted in Latin, Tournaments3 Comments

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