Tag Archive | "Mexico"

Groups Unveiled for the U12 Baseball World Cup


The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced the groups for the upcoming U12 Baseball World Cup to take place in Taiwan later this summer. Twelve teams will compete for the title that the US will defend after winning the 2013 edition of the tournament in Taiwan.

The top four nations will compete in the event with the top two, Japan and the USA, competing in the same group for the first stage.

Group A
1. Cuba (World No. 3)
2. Chinese Taipei (No. 4)
3. South Korea (No. 8)
4. Venezuela (No. 10)
5. Brazil (No. 15)
6. Russia (No. 32)

Group B
1. Japan (No. 1)
2. USA (No. 2; Defending U12 World Champions)
3. Mexico (No. 12)
4. Australia (No. 14)
5. Nicaragua (No. 16)
6. France (No. 27)

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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

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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

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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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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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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.

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects List – Numbers 71-80


Before the World Baseball Classic we took a look at some of the international players on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospect List. If you missed those, you can find #’s 91-100 here and #’s 81-90 here. Today we pick up where we left off with #’s 71-80.

Didi Gregorius, ss, ARI – #80

Hailing from Amsterdam, Gregorius was signed out of the Netherlands in 2007 as a free agent by the Cincinnati Reds. At age 18 in the Gulf Coast League, he hit just .155 in 97 at bats, but he didn’t give up there and last season got a taste of the Major Leagues.

He is a defensive middle infielder who was ranked at the #5 prospect in the Diamondbacks organization after the 2012 season. He was a part of the three team deal that saw the Reds, Indians, and Diamondbacks swapping players in December 2012. He is considered one of the top shortstop prospects in the game. It looks as though he will start the year at Triple-A Reno, but look for him to make an impact very soon at the big league level.

Luis Heredia, rhp, PIT – #78

Heredia, who was born in Mexico, is only 18 years old. He pitched the 2012 season in short-season A ball in the New York-Penn League for State College. In 14 starts Heredia was 4-2 with a 2.71 ERA.

Heredia signed in 2006 as a non-drafted free agent receiving a huge $2.6 million bonus from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has a huge frame at 6′ 6″ and 205 lbs, but he is still growing physically at only 18 years old.

He throws hard reaching 96 on the gun, but usually sits in the low 90s. He has good control so far, but he is still young and working on improving not only his fastball but his secondary pitches as well. He has huge upside, but only time will tell.

Look for him to start the year in Low-A ball with the possibility of moving up depending on his results.

Marcell Ozuna, of, MIA – #75

Ozuna, a power hitting outfielder from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, blasted 24 long balls in 2012 in High-A Jupiter in the Florida State League. He also exhibits another sought after trait for an outfielder, speed. He stole 17 bases in 2011 and covers a lot of ground in the outfield. Another tool he has is a strong arm. He has been rated with the best outfield arm in the Marlins system the past three seasons.

However, Ozuna will need to identify pitches better if he wants to continue up the ladder. He has strikeout totals of 116 and 121 the last two seasons, but he is still learning. One thing is for sure, when he hits the ball he hits it with authority.

Look for the 22-year old to spend most of the season in Double-A Jacksonville for the Marlins. He is the Marlins #5 prospect.

Avisail Garcia, of, DET – #74

The 21-year old outfielder from Venezuela got a taste of the big leagues last season with Detroit making the jump from Double-A Erie. And when he got the call, he excelled. In 23 games, he hit .319 in 47 at bats.

He is a solid defensive outfielder with a good arm. Baseball America rated him as the best outfield arm in the Tigers farm system the past two seasons. He has some power and speed and could turn into quite a threat in the Tigers lineup.

Look for Garcia to start the year in Triple-A. A heel contusion put him on the DL a few days ago, so he is a long shot to make the Opening Day roster.

Next up we will take a look at the international players from #61-70.

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Brawl Breaks Out Between Canada and Mexico at the World Baseball Classic


The game turned ugly between Canada and Mexico on Saturday night in Phoenix.

Leading 9-3, catcher Chris Robinson bunted for a single to lead off the inning. Mexico didn’t seem to like that. The next batter was sent a message with a brush back pitch from Arnold Leon. After both teams were warned by the home plate umpire, the next pitch drilled Rene Tosoni in the back.

Robinson had been the center of several plays throughout the game including a collision at the plate with former Major League Karim Garcia. Garcia was out and there was really nothing Robinson could do on that play but hold his ground.

That’s when things got interesting. Several fights broke out after the main scuffle at home plate. Punches were thrown. Players wrestled, and then the dust settled. Or did it?

Even after the fighting was over on the field, some Mexico fans sitting behind the Canada dugout weren’t finished. They threw a water bottle hitting pitching coach Denis Boucher in the back. He had to be restrained from climbing over the dugout while a player fired the water bottle back into the stands.

It got even more dangerous with reports of fights in the stands. Then a baseball was thrown at, and nearly hit, Canada first base coach Larry Walker.

Who said nobody was taking these games seriously?

Below is a video from YouTube. Oh and Canada won 10-3.

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WBC: Canada vs Mexico Pitching Match Up


Italy has turned things upside down in Pool D with their two wins. Canada is coming off an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Italy, while Mexico rebounded from its loss to down the USA. With a win, Mexico could put itself in a good position to advance.

Both teams start pitchers who were with MLB clubs in 2012.

Canada

Chris Leroux will get the start for Canada on Saturday. Leroux split his time in 2012 between the minors and the Pittsburgh Pirates where he pitched in 10 games, all in relief. He did start eight games at the minor league level, mostly at Triple-A Indianapolis. He was 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA in that minors last season and needs to bring some of that success into today’s game.

Internationally Leroux was part of the Junior National Team from 2001-02 pitching in the 2002 IBAF 18U World Championship. He also appeared in the 2007 World Cup and in the 2009 WBC. He pitched in two games in 2009, pitching just 1.2 innings.

Mexico

Marco Estrada gets the call for Mexico. Estrada spent the 2012 season with the Milwaukee Brewers pitching in 29 games, including 23 starts, going 5-7. He threw 138.1 innings posting a 3.64 ERA.

Estrada was drafted in 2005 by the Washington Nationals out of Long Beach State. He struggled at the Major League level for a few years pitching in only a handful of games before finding his way to Milwaukee where he spent most of 2011 out of the bullpen.

Estrada is making his National Team debut for Mexico in what could turn out to be a huge game for the club win or lose.

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WBC: Mexico vs USA Pitching Match Up


Mexico is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Italy yesterday, and today they will have to face one of the favorites in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Team USA. This will be Team USA’s first game of the Classic. They have yet to win a title, so they will be looking to get off to a strong start. Here are the starting pitchers for each team.

Mexico

Milwaukee Brewers 16-game winner Yovani Gallardo will get the start for Mexico. Gallardo went 16-9 in 2012 for the Brewers. He posted a 3.66 ERA in the process striking out 204 in 204 innings.

Gallardo is a strikeout pitcher. In his 4+ seasons at the MLB level, he has pitched 916.1 innings and collected 936 strikeouts. That is 9.2 per 9 innings over his career. Each of his four full seasons he has posted 200+ strikeouts.

Gallardo is a big time pitcher who will need to step up against Team USA. This is his first appearance in the WBC.

USA

Team USA will start the reigning N.L. Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays. Last season with the New York Mets, Dickey went 20-6 and posted an ERA of 2.73.

Dickey has spent parts of 10 seasons at the Major League level with the Rangers, Mariners, and Mets. As a college standout, from the University of Tennessee, Dickey pitched in the 1996 Olympics winning a bronze medal with Team USA. He started two games in the Olympics and won both. This is his first WBC.

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WBC: Italy Rallies Late; Stuns Mexico 6-5


SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – Pool D kicked off at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, with a game between Italy and Mexico on Thursday afternoon. The game proved to be perhaps the most exciting so far in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Heading into Pool D, most thought that three teams would compete for the two spots into the next round. The one team that most figured wouldn’t be a part of that race was Italy. They proved everyone wrong on Thursday thrusting themselves in the mix with a 6-5 win over Mexico in front of almost 4,500 spectators.

The game was a seesaw affair with Italy striking first in the first.

In the first inning, Chris Denorfia (2-for-5) doubled to get the offense going after lead off hitter Nick Punto struck out. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-5) followed Denorfia with a soft single to center putting runners at the corners. Right-handed slugging third baseman Alex Liddi (2-for-3) got Italy on the board with a line drive single up the middle. Italy would pick up one more run on a Mike Costanzo (1-for-4) single.

Italy led 2-0 after a half inning, but it didn’t last.

Italy starter John Mariotti couldn’t hold the lead. He immediately walked the lead off hitter, then gave up a double to Ramiro Pena (2-for-4) to put runners on second and third with no outs. Mariotti then got an out and loaded the bases walking slugger Adrian Gonzalez for former MLBer Jorge Cantu.

Cantu cleared the bases with a three-run double giving Mexico the lead 3-2.

Mexico would add another run in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Eduardo Arredondo singled and advanced to second on an error by center fielder Denorfia. Ramiro Pena made them pay with a RBI double off newly inserted pitcher Tiago De Silva.

Mexico led 4-2, and that is where we would stay until the fourth.

After a Mario Chiarini single, Minnesota Twins catcher Drew Butera blasted a two-run home run onto the grass berm beyond the left field wall tying the game at four.

It didn’t stay tied for long.

Mexico center fielder Arredondo (2-for-3 / 3 runs) was at it again. He singled to center and was sacrificed to second by Pena. Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Luis Cruz then doubled home Arrendondo to give Mexico the lead once again at 5-4.

The bullpen for both teams settled in at this point and the game remained at 5-4 until the ninth inning.

That’s when things go very interesting.

The San Francisco Giants Sergio Romo came on to close out the game for Mexico. After getting one quick out, Nick Punto doubled to left field on what looked like a ball misplayed by Edgar Gonzalez. Next up was Chris Denorfia.

Denorfia had what had to be the best at bat of the game. After falling down 0-2 in the count, Denorfia laid off three close sliders by Romo to run the count full. He then fouled off four straight pitches spoiling some good sliders from Romo until he got one he could handle singling to left field.

Pinch runner Stefano Desimoni didn’t score on the play, but runners were at the corners with one out for Italy.

Next up was the Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo who doubled on a fly ball to left field that could have and maybe should have been caught once again by Edgar Gonzalez. Desimoni scored easily from third tying the game, and heads up running by Denorfia allowed him to score the go ahead run all the way from first.

Midway through the ninth, Italy led 6-5, but the excitement still wasn’t over.

Italy brought in the Pittsburgh Pirates Jason Grilli to close out the game. Grilli would face pinch-hitter Efren Navarro to start the inning. Navarro would single. After a sacrifice bunt moved pinch-runner Walter Ibarra to second base, Pena popped out. So with two outs and the tying run at second, the game got even more exciting.

Grilli proceeded to walk the next hitter, Cruz. That brought up the dangerous Adrian Gonzalez, whom Grilli hit with a pitch loading the bases.

So now the bases were loaded with two outs and up to bat is Jorge Cantu who already hit a bases clearing double in the first inning.  Grilli decided to make it even more interesting running the count full before getting Cantu to ground out to second base to end the inning.

Nick Pugliese picked up the win pitching 1.1 innings of hitless relief. Grilli got the save.

Sergio Romo took the loss giving up two runs on three hits in a single inning.

Italy will turn around and play Canada Friday at 2:30 pm EST, while Mexico will face USA at 9:00 pm EST Friday night.

 

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Eight Great Latin American Ballplayers


By Ismael Nunez

This month of February is African-American History Month. It’s also Dominican History Month, and in the first week of February every year:  Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela participated in the Caribbean World Series!

Yet the games are not shown on prime-time and at the same time there are several Latin American ballplayers many USA citizens don’t know much about.  Here are the Magnificent Eight!

Cuba

Martin Dihigo stood 6’3 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. He was the first Latin American Ballplayer who played in the Negro Leagues elected into the Hall. The only ballplayer elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in four countries (Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, United States).  In Cuba he was called “The Immortal” in other Latin American countries he was called “El Maestro” (The Master). As a pitcher he won over 25o games had a winning percentage over .650. As a hitter he had a batting average of over .300 and won batting  and home-run titles.  Too many, including former Negro League Hall of Famers, consider him the greatest player ever!

Jose Mendez stood only 5’8. In Cuba he was called “El Diamante Negro” (The Black Diamond) yet he had a winning percentage of .747.  When Major League Teams traveled to the island in exhibition games Mendez won most of the time! In one game he defeated Hall of Fame Pitcher Christy Mathewson in 1911.

Cristobal Torriente stood between 5’9 and 5’10 yet weighed 190 pounds. He was called “The Cuban Babe Ruth”, played baseball year-round, and was a star player both in the Negro and Cuban Leagues from 1913 to 1922. His lifetime batting average was .352.

All Three of these Cubans are in Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY

Dominican Republic

Tetelo Vargas has been called “The Father of Dominican Baseball and The Dominican Deer” who was excellent both on defense and offense! Long before there was Manny Ramirez, and Vladimir Guerrero there was Vargas. Playing in the Negro Leagues, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Mexican Leagues he put together a lifetime batting average of .300.  He also had good speed, and was notable base stealer.

Horacio “Rabbit” Martinez was an outstanding shortstop, and a clutch hitter.

To many he was the greatest shortstop ever to play in the Dominican Republic and one of the top shortstops in the Negro Leagues from the 1930’s and 1940’s. In an article for SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) many would say long before Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith there was Martinez making those plays. He had a rifle of an arm and brilliant speed.

In his Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, James A. Riley wrote that Martinez was “a good bunter, fast on the bases, and good on either end of the hit-and-run play! Always a hustler!”

Dominican baseball player Manny Mota had this to say about Martinez “Mr. Horacio Martínez was without a doubt one of the greatest players in the history of the Dominican Republic. Besides being a great player, he was like a father to me. I’ve got a great deal of respect and admiration for him.”

Rob Ruck, author, The Tropic of Baseball: Baseball in the Dominican Republic, and co-writer/producer of the film Republic of Baseball stated this, “I think that both Tetelo Vargas and Horacio Martínez merit consideration for the Hall of Fame. Now that the Hall has opened its “Viva Baseball” exhibit about Latinos in baseball, I hope that they might establish a special committee to consider such candidacies, as they did once before, in 2006!

Puerto Rico

Pancho Coimbre & Perucho Cepeda

Long before Puerto Rican great like Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Roberto Alomar arrived in the Hall of Fame, you had these two individuals.  Coimbre and Cepeda both stood 5’11 and both were Afro-Puerto Rican as well as outstanding hitters/fielders. Cepeda’s single season batting average of .464 is the highest in Puerto Rican Baseball History. Coimbre’s lifetime batting average of .337 is the second best in Puerto Rican Baseball History.  Both are in the Puerto Rican Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mexico

The country has had baseball fever long before Fernandomania in 1981, Bobby Avila winning the A.L. batting title in 1954, or the country winning the 2013 Caribbean World Series. Before all of this there was Hector Espino!

He was called the “Babe Ruth of Mexico”  and his  achievements have been compared favorably with many baseball legends who have received baseball’s highest honor.

He won a staggering 18 batting titles(winter/summer leagues) which is six more than the 12 batting crowns Hall of Famer Ty Cobb captured. He also spent 24 years with the Orange Men from 1960-84. Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson (Orioles) and Carl Yastrzemski (Red Sox) are tied with 23 years of service in one uniform.

He became the oldest man to win a batting title in 1983 when he was 43 years-old and hit .316. Ted Williams was 40 when he hit .328 in 1958.

He led Mexico to its first Caribbean World Series win in 1976, and in 1988 was elected to the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame (Salón de la Fama del Beisbol Profesional de México).

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Caribbean Series Eyes Possible Return to Miami


HERMOSILLO, Mexico – The Caribbean Series could possibly return to Miami in the near future. Caribbean Baseball Confederation president Juan Francisco Puello Herrera has been in talks with the Miami Marlins about the possibility of using their new stadium in Little Havana.

The talks are still early, and the Series might not return to Miami for another four years or so.

The tournament was held at the Orange Bowl, site of the current Miami Marlins Park, in 1990. It was also held at Bobby Maduro Miami Stadium in 1991. The Series was going through hard times during their trips to Miami, and Puello would like to reestablish the events image in the heavily Latin populated area.

Another factor is the possible return of Cuba to the Series. Cuba hasn’t played since 1961, but its return is still a long shot. Puello has stated that Cuba would have to commit to the Series to return. It would not be allowed for just one series. It would have to be on a permanent basis.

The 2014 Caribbean Series will return to Venezuela. The tournament rotates between the four countries participating (Mexico, Venezuala, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic).

Next year it will take place in Margarita which is a large island on the northeast coast of the country. It will be played at Estadio Guatamare where the Series debuted in 2010 when the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Republic took home the title.

The Series will rotate to Puerto Rico in 2015 and the Dominican Republic in 2016.

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Caribbean Series: Luis Mendoza Named MVP of Series


HERMOSILLO, Mexico – The All-Stars of the 2013 Caribbean Series were named prior to Thursday’s Championship Game.

Luis Mendoza, a Kansas City Royals pitcher, was named the Most Valuable Player of the round robin portion of the tournament. Mendoza was part of Mexico’s Yaquis de Obregon team that went on to win the title.

Mendoza made two starts in the tournament pitching 13.1 scoreless innings. He flirted with a no-hitter on Wednesday taking one into the eighth inning when he would pitch 7.1 innings giving up just two hits to earn the win. That win against Puerto Rico put Mexico into the Championship Game against the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Republic.

The rest of the All-Stars were:

• Manager: Audo Vicente (DR)
• Catcher: Francisco Pena (DR)
• Pitcher: Mendoza
• First base: Donell Linares (DR)
• Second base: Jose Ramirez (DR)
• Third base: Mario Lisson (Venezuela)
• Shortstop: Miguel Tejada (DR)
• Outfielder: Marlon Byrd (Mexico)
• Outfielder: Ricardo Nanita (DR)
• Outfielder: Doug Clark (Mexico)
• Designated hitter: Barbaro Canizares (Puerto Rico)
• Right-handed pitcher: Mendoza
• Left-handed pitcher: Efraim Nieves (Puerto Rico)
• Relief pitcher: David Reyes (Mexico)
• Closer: Saul Rivera (Puerto Rico)

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Caribbean Series: Doug Clark Ends Championship with Home Run in the 18th Inning


HERMOSILLO, Mexico – It took 18 innings and just about eight hours of play before the Yaquis de Obregon of Mexico could hold on to pick up the win over the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Republic. The 4-3 victory in the first Championship Game gave Mexico the 2013 Caribbean Series title. It was their second title in three years, both by Obregon.

Mexico led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning but couldn’t hang on. Ricardo Nanita (1-for-8) homered to tie the game and send it into extra innings.

From there it was a battle of bullpens for another nine innings. It looked again like Mexico might pull out the win in the 14th inning, but once again they couldn’t hold on. Karim Garcia (1-for-5) led off the inning with a home run to give Mexico a 3-2 lead. But with a one-run lead in the 14th Mexico’s pitching staff couldn’t find the strike zone. Edgar Gonzalez walked the first two batters. After a couple of ground outs, the face of the Caribbean Series came to the plate with a chance to tie or win it, Miguel Tejada (2-for-8). Tejada preceeded to single to right field driving in the tying run.

Mexico pitching walked 10 batters, but eight of those were in the last 6.1 innings including six in a 2.1 inning streak. Starter Rodrigo Lopez pitched brilliantly tossing 7.2 innings of one run ball (unearned). Marco Carrillo (W, 1-0) picked up the win pitching four innings of scoreless relief.

The Dominican Republic starter Angel Castro pitched just as well as Lopez. He tossed 7.2 innings giving up just two runs (1 earned) on two hits. He was on the hook for the loss until Nanita homered in the ninth inning. The pitching staff struck out 21 Mexico hitters and gave up only six hits over 18 innings. Edward Valdez (L, 0-1) took the loss giving up a run in the 18th inning.

That lone run in the 18th inning came off the bat of longtime journeyman Doug Clark (2-for-7). With one out, Clark sent the first pitch he saw just over the right field fence giving Mexico the lead and eventually the win.

Clark bounced around in the minor leagues from 1998 to 2007. He got a “cup of coffee” in the Major Leagues in 2005 and 2006 getting into the action in fourteen games for San Francisco and Oakland. After that he took off for the foreign leagues starting first in South Korea with the Hanwha Eagles and then onto the Nexen Heroes between 2008-2010. Ever since leaving Korea, Clark has been playing in the Mexican League for Quintana Roo.

The game tied the record for most innings (18) with a game that came in 2007. It also set the record for the longest game at seven hours and 28 minutes).

Doug Clark was named MVP of the championship.

It was Mexico’s seventh Caribbean Series title tying them with Venezuela and Cuba. It was the second title won by the Yaquis de Obregon.

Photos courtesy Yaquis de Obregon

Clark HR

Doug Clark rounds the bases after his 18th inning home run

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Caribbean Series: Dominican Republic Eliminates Venezuela; Awaits Mexico – Puerto Rico Winner


HERMOSILLO, Mexico – The Dominican Republic earned a spot in the new Championship Game of the 2013 Caribbean Series with a win over Mexico on Tuesday. On Wednesday they eliminated Venezuela with a 4-2 win.

Both team got good starts from their starting pitcher. The Dominican’s Carlos Pimentel pitched four innings giving up only one unearned run on two hits. The bullpen did just as well giving up only one run on three hits the rest of the way. Pimentel didn’t factor in the decision, but Armando Rodriguez (W, 1-0) picked up the win pitching a scoreless eighth inning. Jailen Peguero (S, 1) got the save with a scoreless ninth.

On the other side of the field, Sergio Perez started and pitched well for Venezuela going five innings giving up just one run on five hits.

The game was a pitching duel between the two bullpens, until the ninth inning.

Victor Moreno (L, 0-1) came in to start the ninth for Venezuela. He got the inning started off right with a strikeout. Then he walked a batter and struck out another. So with two outs and a runner at second, after a stolen base, he was lifted for reliever Marcos Tabata.

The Dominican Republic quickly took advantage.

The first hitter Tabata saw, Francisco Pena (2-for-4), hit a two-run home run to put the Dominican in the lead for good.

Venezuela couldn’t come back in the ninth against Peguero and that was it. Their 2013 Caribbean Series ended in disappointment after starting off well. After starting off 2-1, Venezuela dropped the last three games to finish 2-4 and out of the new championship game.

The last game of the round robin features Mexico against Puerto Rico. The winner will advance to face the Dominican Republic in the championship game. In their first meeting, Mexico shutout Puerto Rico 3-0, but Puerto Rico has been hot lately winning their last 2 games.

Full Box Score

2013 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Dominican Republic 5-1

2. Mexico 2-3

3. Puerto Rico 2-3

4. Venezuela 2-4

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Caribbean Series: Mexico Defeats Venezuela to Even Record at 2-2


HERMOSILLO, Mexico – Some games go down to the last batter to find a winner. On Monday, Mexico defeated Venezuela at the 2013 Caribbean Series 2-0 scoring the only runs in the game after two batters.

In the bottom of the first inning, Mexico center fielder Chris Roberson (0-for-3) reached on an error by Venezuela first baseman Jose Castillo. The next batter accounted for all of the runs when Alfredo Amezaga (1-for-3) hit a two run home run.

Venezuela starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx (L, 0-1) pitched great allowing only three hits over seven innings. However, one of the three hits was Amezaga’s home run in the first inning.

Rolando Valdez (W, 1-0) pitched well to get the win going seven shutout innings allowing only five hits while striking out six and walking none. Oscar Villarreal (S, 1) picked up the save striking out two in the ninth.

Neither team did anything offensively after the first inning. Mexico collected only three hits and Venezuela seven.

The win evens the standings between the two teams at 2-2 a game behind the leader Dominican Republic.

2013 Caribbean Series Standings:

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

2013 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Tuesday February 5th
Puerto Rico vs Venezuela 6:00 pm
Dominican Republic vs Mexico 9:30 pm

Wednesday February 6th
Dominican Republic vs Venezuela 6:00 pm
Mexico vs Puerto Rico 9:30 pm

Thursday February 7th
Championship 9:00 pm

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LMP: Yaquis de Obregon Win Third Straight Mexican Pacific League Title


The Yaquis de Obregon completed its three-peat winning the Mexican Pacific League title once again with a four game sweep of the Aguilas de Mexicali. Obregon completed the sweep with a 16-3 win on Saturday night.

Kansas City pitcher Roman Colon got the start for Obregon but lasted only three innings. He gave up three runs on five hits before handing the ball over to the bullpen. David Reyes (W, 1-1) picked up the win pitching four innings of scoreless relief.

Marco Duarte (L, 1-1) got pounded taking the loss. Duarte lasted just 1.2 innings giving up seven runs.

The Yaquis pounded out 17 hits including two home runs and five doubles against the Mexicali pitching. Every Yaquis starter picked up at least one hit on the night led by Alfredo Amezago (3-for-5) who double and drove in a run. Jesse Gutierrez (2-for-4) drove in four runs including three on a home run in the 3rd inning.

Barbaro Canizares (3-for-4) drove in a pair including one on a solo home run in the 3rd inning as Obregon put the game away. They started strong scoring five runs in the bottom of the 1st inning, added two more in the 2nd, and another five in the 3rd.

Wes Bankston (1-for-3) homered in the losing effort for Mexicali.

The win puts Obregon back into the Caribbean Series for the 3rd year in a row. In last years Caribbean Series, Obregon finished a disappointing 2-4 after winning the title in 2011.

The Caribbean Series starts February 1st in Hermosillo, Mexico.

LMP Championship Schedule:

Game 1: Obregon 5, Mexicali 3
Game 2: Obregon 4, Mexicali 2
Game 3: Mexicali 5, Obregon 6
Game 4: Mexicali 3, Obregon 16
Yaquis de Obregon wins series 4-0

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LMP: Obregon Takes Two Game Lead in Mexican Pacific League Finals


Obregon took a 2-0 lead in the Mexican Pacific League Finals over Mexicali on a Juan Miranda solo home run in the top of the 7th inning.

With the game tied at 2, Miranda led off the 7th inning with a home run off of Mexicali starter Sergio Valenzuela (L, 0-2). The Yaquis got another run in the top of the 8th on a Adan Munoz (1-for-1) pinch hit single driving in Doug Clark (1-for-3) who had walked to start the inning.

Both Alfredo Amezaga (2-for-4) and Sergio Contreras (2-for-3) both picked up 2 hits in the win for Obregon.

Rolando Valdez (W, 2-0) pitched 6 strong innings giving up just 2 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits to earn the win. Luis Ayala (S, 5) pitched a perfect 9th to earn the save. Valenzuela went 6.1 innings giving up 3 runs on 8 hits taking the loss.

LMP Championship Schedule:

Game 1: Obregon 5, Mexicali 3
Game 2: Obregon 4, Mexicali 2
Game 3: 01/25 7:30 pm
Game 4: 01/26 6:00 pm
Game 5: 01/27 7:30 pm
Game 6: 01/29 7:30 pm
Game 7: 01/30 7:30 pm

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LMP: Obregon Wins Game 1 of Mexican Pacific League Finals


Obregon got a strong start from Kansas City Royals pitcher Luis Mendoza (W, 3-0) to take Game 1 of the Mexican Pacific League (Liga Mexicana del Pacífico or LMP) Finals 5-3 over Mexicali.

Mendoza tossed 6 innings allowing just 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 11 en route to the victory. Luis Ayala (S, 4) tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless ball to pick up the save.

Obregon jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the top of the first. They used a single, a hit batter, and a walk to load the bases. Barbaro Canizares drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly putting runners at the corners. With Carlos Valencia at the plate, Jesse Gutierrez stole second to set up Valencia’s 2-run single.

Obregon left fielder Doug Clark (2-for-3) scored 3 runs, while Carlos Valencia (2-for-4) and Agustin Murillo (2-for-4) both picked up a pair of hits. Valencia drove in 3 runs.

Mexicali starter Jorge Campillo (L, 1-2) didn’t last long going only 2.2 innings allowing 4 runs on 4 hits. Oscar Robles (3-for-5) doubled and scored a run, while Yuniesky Betancourt (2-for-5) tripled, homered, and drove in 2 runs in the loss.

LMP Championship Schedule:

Game 1: Obregon 5, Mexicali 3
Game 2: 01/23 7:30 pm
Game 3: 01/25 7:30 pm
Game 4: 01/26 6:00 pm
Game 5: 01/27 7:30 pm
Game 6: 01/29 7:30 pm
Game 7: 01/30 7:30 pm

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