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Updated: January 8, 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)

Curt Smith leads Tigres to win Play-Off opener

CHINANDEGA (Nicaragua) - Curt Smith was 3-for-4 and scored twice in leading Tigres de Chinandega to an 8-2 victory against Indios del Bóer on Sunday (January 7) in the opening game of the Nicaraguan Play-Off. The winner of the best-of-five Semi-Final becomes the second finalist to reach the Championship Final of the Liga de Béisbol Profesional Nacional.

...Curt Smith was 3-for-4 and scored twice for Tigres...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
On Friday, Gigantes de Rivas became the first finalist by finishing in first place of the regular season. Gigantes needed an additional game, as it had finished in a tie for first place with Tigres. Gigantes outscored Tigres 10-0 to reach the Final.

In the Play-Off opener, Tigres collected 13 basehits, including three by Curt Smith, one of them being a double. The player of the Netherlands Kingdom Team also walked, stole a base and scored twice.

Initially, Tigres trailed 1-0 after the top of the first inning, as Dayner Moreira hit an one-out homerun off of starting pitcher Marcos Frias, who dominated hereafter. Frias allowed only one hitter to reach base in the next four innings and threw six-plus strong innings.

After leaving a runner behind in scoring position in the first and second inning, Tigres came alongside in the bottom of the fourth inning. It was Smith who started the comeback, as he lead off the fourth with a double off of starter Manuel Soliman. Smith advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Jesús López, then scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Ismael Munguía.

Tigres took a 2-1 lead in the fifth at bat. With one out, Osman Marval and Edgard Montiel both singled, bringing Curt Smith in the batter's box. After Marval and Montiel both advanced on a wild pitch, Smith was walked intentionally to load the bases and create a force play. A run was then scored on a sacrifice fly by Jesús López, which was followed by a pitching change. Another run was added in the sixth on a grounder by Jamar Walton.

Leading 3-1, Tigres rallied for five runs with two outs in the seventh to take a commanding lead. Smith led off with a single and moved on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Leonardo Ortiz also singled and later stole second base. With runners on second and third base, it appeared the inning would end, but a hit by Yosmani Guerra ended in an error and enabled Smith to score. That led to a pitching change. Reliever Juan Bermúdez was greeted with a runscoring single by Ofilio Castro, then Jamar Walton followed with a 3-run homerun to lift the lead to 8-1.

Bóer scored its second run in the top of the ninth on a 2-out single by Maikel Cáseres, but that was to be it.

(January 7)

Related Article:
Gigantes in Nicaraguan Final. (Jan. 5)

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