Grand Slam * Stats & News
Updated: February 9, 2018
Scores & Statistics
Baseball Scores & Stats
Softball Women Scores & Stats
Copyright © 1997-2018
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
International Baseball
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen & Criollos de Caguas)

Puerto Rico repeats as winner of Serie del Caribe

ZAPOPAN, Jalisco (México) - Puerto Rico again has won the Serie del Caribe. In the Final on Thursday-evening (February 8), Criollos de Caguas, which represented Puerto Rico as champion, recorded a 9-4 victory against Águilas Cibaeñas, the champion of the Dominican Republic to win the 60th edition of the annual event. It was an emotional win for Puerto Rico, which trailed 4-1 halfway the seventh inning, but then rallied for five runs. The winning team dedicate the tournament-victory to its homeland, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in September.

It marks the sixteenth time that Puerto Rico has won the Serie del Caribe. The Dominican Republic is the record-holder with 19 titles.

Winning Manager Luis Matos became the first Manager to win consecutive Series since Napoleon Reyes accomplished the feat in 1957-1958. In those years, he led Tigres de Marianao (Cuba) to back-to-back Caribbean titles. It also was the first time since 1992-1993 that Puerto Rico won two titles in a row.

Last year, Puerto Rico, then also represented by Criollos de Caguas, won the Serie del Caribe for the first time in 17 years. A year ago, when the event also took place in México, Puerto Rico won 1-0 in 10 innings in the Final against Águilas de Mexicali (México).

In the last several years, the governing Confederación de Béisbol Profesional del Caribe (CBPC) is thinking to expand the field of participants in the Serie del Caribe. It might open the event for the champions of the professional leagues in Colombia, Nicaragua and Panamá. These champions now participate in their own international event, the Serie Latinoamericana. The sixth edition of that event recently was held in Nicaragua and also included the champion of Curaçao and the league in the Mexican State of Veracruz. There even are contacts with Asian countries.

En route to the Final, Puerto Rico won its Semi-Final against Caribes de Anzoátegui, the champion of Venezuela, with a 6-5 score. The Dominicans reached the Final by winning 7-4 against Alazanes de Granma, the champion of Cuba. This year, as it has been since 2014, Cuba again was a guest-participant, but the country now can return as a full member of the Caribbean Confederation. Cuba left in 1961 when professional was dissolved in the country.

Next year, the 61st Serie del Caribe will be organized in Venezuela, where the games will be played in Barquisimeto. This year, the event initially was to be hosted in that city, but due to the current economic situation, it was moved to México. There, the games were played at Estadio Panamericano in the city of Zapopan, which is part of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, located in the 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. Because of the move, México organized the Serie del Caribe in two consecutive years. In the current planning, México will host the event again in 2021 with Mazatlan as playing site.

(February 8)

Related Articles:
Dominican Republic & Puerto Rico in Final Serie del Caribe. (February 7)
Cuba ends first in Prelimnary Round Serie del Caribe. (February 6)
First loss Cuba; México eliminated for PO Serie del Caribe. (February 5)
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)
Tigres wins Serie Latinoamericana in 2nd consecutive year. (January 31)
Águilas dethrones Tigres and captures Dominican title. (January 31)
Granma repeats as Cuban champs with small win in Game 7. (January 28)

Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic
...Rusney Castillo accounted for the first Puerto Rican run...
...On the photo, he plays for Cuba in the 2012...
...Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The Dominicans took an early lead, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. With one out, Gustavo Nunez and Junior Lake both were walked by starting pitcher Adalberto Flores. He followed with a strikeout, but then gave up a 2-out, 2-run double to Juan Pérez, who played in 117 Major League-games for San Francisco Giants in 2013-2015.

Flores retired the side in the second inning, but the Dominicans added another run in the third. With one out, Nunez walked and scored on a double by Lake to make it a 3-0 score. Earlier in the event, Lake had hit the 1,000th homerun in the history of the Serie del Caribe.

Puerto Rico came on the board fo the first time in the bottom of the third inning when Cuban Rusney Castillo homered with two outs off of starter Raul Valdes. Castillo participated with Cuba in two international tournaments in the Netherlands, the 2011 World Port Tournament in Rotterdam and the 2012 Haarlem Baseball Week in Haarlem.

However, the Dominicans got the run back immediately in the top of the fourth off of new pitcher Joe Colon. With one out, Carlos Paulino walked, advanced on a wild pitch, then moved to third base and scored when two errors followed on the next two grounders. For the Dominican champion, this would be its last run in this game, which turned around in the seventh.

In the top of the seventh inning, trailing 4-1, the Puerto Rican-defense turned its second double play, then its offense rallied for five runs moments later when two relievers failed to hold onto the Dominican lead.

After giving up the homerun in the third inning, Dominican-starter Raul Valdes retired ten conscutive hitters, including five strikeouts. But in the bottom of the seventh, the game turned around.

...Puerto Rico has been crowned as Champion of the 2018 Serie del Caribe...
(© Photo courtesy of Criollos de Caguas)
Valdes walked lead-off hitter Anthony García and got another baserunner when he also walked David Vidal with one out. That marked the end for Valdes, who had done very well. Ramon Ramirez took over, but he got runners on second and third base when he began with a wild pitch. Both runners scored when he gave up 2-run single to Rubén Gotay on his next delivery, which narrowed the deficit to only 4-3. When next hitter Dayron Varona also singled, another pitching change followed. Wirfin Obispo took over, but he was greeted with a 3-run homerun from catcher Jonathan Morales that made it a 6-4 score in favor of Puerto Rico. Morales plays in the Minor League in the Atlanta Braves-organization since 2015. Last year, he played in Single-A and Double-A.

The Dominicans got their first two batters on base in the eighth, but they were left behind. Puerto Rico then took more distance by scoring three runs in its eighth at bat. Jesmuel Valentin and Anthony García began with singles, which brought in new pitcher Juan Grullon. He gave up a 2-run double to Johnny Monell, who went on to score himself on an one-out single from Rubén Gotay, who played in the Major League for Kansas City Royals (2004-2005), New York Mets (2007) and Atlanta Braves (2008).

The Dominicans got one more baserunner in the top of the ninth, but he was forced out.

After returning home, the Puerto Rican squad was welcomed at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in capital San Juan with music and by Luis G. Rivera Marín and Adriana Sánchez Parés, respectively the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Recreation and Sports of Puerto Rico.

Thank you for visiting this site.
Mail your suggestions and questions to
Copyright © 1997-2018 Marco Stoovelaar / Grand Slam * Stats & News.