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Updated: January 7, 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)

Gigantes in Nicaraguan Final

RIVAS (Nicaragua) - Gigantes de Rivas is the first team to qualify for the Championship Final in the Liga de Béisbol Profesional Nacional in Nicaragua. The team needed an additional game in the regular season to finish in first place and automatically qualify for the Final for the fifth consecutive year. The second finalist comes from the Play-Off between Tigres de Chinandega and Indios del Bóer. Playing again for Tigres is Curaçao-born Curt Smith, who is a player of the Netherlands Kingdom Team, with whom he reached the Semi Final of the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017. Smith also was a member of the Orange squad that captured the title at the World Championship in 2011 and the European Championships in 2014 and 2016.

...Curt Smith led the league with six homeruns...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
On Wednesday (January 3), Gigantes won 13-7 against Indios del Bóer, while Tigres de Chinandega won 11-8 against Leones de León. For Gigantes and Leones, the regular season ended on Wednesday. After its win against Indios, Gigantes was in first place with a 23-19 record, while Leones was in fourth and last place. However, second-placed Tigres was 22-19 and had one game left against Indios.

On Thursday, Tigres closed its season with a 5-1 win against Indios. Tigres rallied for five runs in the first inning of the game, which saw some early ejections. In the first at bat, Tigres-player Jamar Walton (after an intentional walk) and Bóer Manager Elvis de la Cruz Peña were ejected. In the second inning, Tigres-pitcher Adrián Salcedo also was ejected. With the win, Tigres ended up in a tie for first place with Gigantes.

That meant that an additional regular season-game had to be played between Tigres and Gigantes to decide first place. That game was played on Friday at the home site of Gigantes in Rivas. In the deciding game, Gigantes had two productive innings, scoring five runs in both the third and fifth inning en route to a 10-0 victory. Wuilliams Vásquez belted a grand slam homerun for Gigantes in the third inning. Vásquez played in the Dutch big league for HCAW in 2010.

Curt Smith didn't had a high batting average this season, but despite that, he led the Nicaraguan league this season with six homeruns. Smith closed the season with a .213 (26-for-122) batting average, scored 18 runs and batted in only eleven, but he also walked 26 times.

Javier Robles of Indios del Bóer was the Best Hitter in the regular season with a .354 batting average (51-for-144). Robles became the sixth Nicaraguan player to win the batting title and the first since Renato Morales was the Best Hitter in the 2011-2012 season.

Elmer Reyes (Gigantes) batted in the most runs (34) and collected the most basehitts (59). He shared first place in runs scored with Osman Marval (Tigres) with 57.

(January 5)

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