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Updated: February 6, 2018
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Henk Seppen)

First loss Cuba; México eliminated for Play-Offs Serie del Caribe

ZAPOPAN, Jalisco (México) - On Monday (February 5), Day 4 of the Serie del Caribe, Puerto Rico won 12-7 against Venezuela to reach the Play-Offs of the annual event. In the evening, the Dominican Republic recorded a 7-1 win against Cuba. This not only resulted in the first loss of Cuba, but it also secured a spot for the Dominicans in the Play-Offs and the elimination of México for the final-four.

When Cuba had won, the final game of the game in the preliminary round would have been decisive. In that game, on Tuesday-evening, the Dominicans plays against host México. A Mexican win would then have resulted in a Play-Off spot based on the head-to-head result. But by winning against Cuba, a loss now will not harm the Dominican Republic.

México is the lone team without a win, while the other four teams now all have won twice and lost once. This means that the final games on Tuesday will decide the final ranking and combinations for the Semi-Finals.

This year, the Serie del Caribe is played at Estadio Panamericano in the city of Zapopan, which is part of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, located in the Mexican state of Jalisco. The stadium is the home of Charros de Jalisco of the Mexican Pacific League, which has a Triple-A Minor League-designation.

(February 5)

Related Articles:
Venezuela hands México 3rd loss of Serie del Caribe. (February 4)
Cuba also wins second game of Serie del Caribe. (February 3)
Cuba & Puerto Rico open Serie del Caribe with win. (February 2)
Águilas dethrones Tigres and captures Dominican title. (January 31)
Granma repeats as Cuban champs with small win in Game 7. (January 28)

Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico recorded a convincing 12-7 win against Venezuela on Monday. Puerto Rican champion Criollos de Caguas already led 9-0 halfway the third inning and collected 16 basehits. Anthony García and Jonathan Morales both had three basehits. David Vidal batted in four runs. García and Vidal homered, as did Rusney Castillo and Jesmuel Valentin.

...Irving Falu playing for Puerto Rico vs. Netherlands... the 2009 World Baseball Classic...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Puerto Rico opened with four runs in the top of the first inning. With one out, Jesmuel Valentin singled and moved on a wild pitch and a single by Anthony García. He then scored the first run when Johnny Monell reached on an error and David Vidal followed with a 3-run homerun.

Four more runs were added in the second inning. Jonathan Morales led off with a single, but was forced out on a grounder by Irving Falu, who then scored when Rusney Castillo homered. With two outs, Anthony García walked and scored on a double by Monell. After a pitching change, the latter scored the next run on a single by Vidal to make it an 8-0 score.

In the top of the third inning, Puerto Rico scored again. With one out and the bases loaded, then run was scored on a sacrifice fly by Jesmuel Valentin, which also ended in an inning-ending double play.

Venezuela was able to do something back in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs and two runners on base, Rene Reyes and Balbino Fuenmayor delivered runscoring singles.

In the bottom of the fourth, Venezuela scored another run on a single by Rafael Ortega, but then was held scoreless again in the following three innings. The team scored four runs in the final two at bats, but then faced a bigger deficit to turn the game around.

With a 9-3 lead, Puerto Rico added two more runs in the eighth when Jesmuel Valentin and Anthony García hit back-to-back homeruns with one out off of new pitcher Jean Toledo.

Now trailing 11-3, Venezuela scored twice in its eighth at bat on a double by Luis Domoromo and a grounder by Luis Hernandez. However, Puerto Rico scored one more run in the ninth when Dayron Varona led off with a triple off of reliever Ricardo Hernandez and scored on a following double by Jonathan Morales.

A grounder by Tomas Telis and a single by Alexi Amarista produced the sixth and seventh run for Venezuela in the bottom of the ninth, but that was to be it.

Dominican Republic vs. Cuba
Dominican champion Águilas Cibaeñas led only 1-0 after four innings and 3-0 when the sixth began. Cuba then got a run back, but the Dominicans took more distance and decided the game by scoring four runs in the seventh at bat. With that, Cuba was handed its first loss, while the Dominicans became the fourth team to reach the Play-Offs and eliminated México.

After Cuba was retired in order in the top of the first inning, the Dominican champion took an 1-0 lead in its first at bat off of starting pitcher Bladimir Banos. With two outs, Junior Lake walked and stole second base, then scored on a double by Edwin Espinal.

Águilas took some more distance by scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth. Abiatal Avelino led off with a double and scored when Junior Lake homered with one out.

The first eight Cuban hitters were retired in order by starting pitcher Bryan Evans. The righthanded American struckout eight hitters and gave up only five hits in the seven innings he pitched. With two outs in the third, Raul Gonzalez singled, but he was caught stealing. In the fourth, Roel Santos led off with a double and Yordan Manduley reached on an infield-hit. But a double play and strikeout followed.

Trailing 3-0, Cuba scored its first run in the top of the sixth when Roel Santos homered with one out. But that also would the lone run they scored. Santos was 3-for-4 in the game.

The Dominicans then decided the game with a 4-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Juan Perez led off with a double and moved on a grounder. Hereafter, he scored on a single by Edwin Espinal, which was followed by a single from Christian Bethancourt. After a pitching change, Ronny Rodriguez delivered a runscoring single and next hitter Luis Valenzuela contributed with a 2-run triple to lift the lead to 7-1.

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