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Updated: January 19, 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)

Tigres one win away from Nicaraguan title after win on grand slam

CHINANDEGA (Nicaragua) - Tigres de Chinandega trailed twice, but rallied for five runs in the sixth inning to win 9-5 on Thursday-evening (January 18) against Gigantes de Rivas in Game 4 of the best-of-seven Championship Final in Nicaragua. Highlight in the rally was a grand slam homerun from Yosmany Guerra. With the win, Tigres took a 3-1 lead and now needs one more win to repeat as champion. Tigres opened the Final on Sunday with a 2-1 victory. Trailing 1-0, Tigres scored twice in the top of the ninth inning with the winning run being scored after Curt Smith was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. The team took a 2-0 lead on Monday, winning 6-1. On Wednesday, Gigantes trailed 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, but came alongside and won 5-4 on a wild pitch with two outs in the 13th inning to cut the lead in half. Game 5 will be played on Friday.

Both teams were productive in the first inning, resulting in three runs and a 2-1 lead for Gigantes. By the way, the runs were scored on hits by foreign players.

...Wuillians Vásquez hit a 2-run double and...
...a 2-run homerun for Gigantes...
...On the photo, he plays for HCAW in the Dutch...
...big league in the 2010 season...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the top of the first inning, Gigantes opened with two runs, which were scored with two outs off of starter Fidencio Flores. The righthander gave up a lead-off single to Vladimir Frías and an one-out single to Elmer Reyes. With two outs, both scored when Venezuelan Wuillians Vásquez drove the ball into centerfield for a 2-run double.

Gigantes-starter José Rosario also gave up three basehits, but only one run, which also was scored with two outs. Norlando Valle led off with a single and moved to third base on an one-out single by Jamar Walton. With two outs, Valle scored on a single by Curaçao-born Dutch player Curt Smith to make it a 2-1 score.

In the next inning, Tigres took over the lead. Yosmany Guerra led off with a walk and the Cuban advanced on a wild pitch. He moved to third base when next hitter Jesús López singled. With one out, Guerra and López both scored on a double by Norlando Valle to put Tigres ahead, 3-2. A pitching change followed, as Berman Espinoza took over, but he waljed Ofilio Castro. However, the Gigantes-defense then turned a double play to end the at bat.

Hereafter, an eventful third inning followed in which Gigantes scored two more runs. But there were also two ejections and the police needed to come onto the field!

For Gigantes, Darrel Campbell led off the top of the third inning. Tigres-pitcher Fidencio Flores threw an inside pitch close to Campbell, who stated that he was hit by the ball. An umpire review followed, but after looking at the replays, no hit by pitch was given. Moments later, Campbell grounded out. After reaching first base, he made a gesture where was hit on his arm and said someting to veteran 1B Umpire Luis González, who immediately ejected Campbell. When that happened, Gigantes Manager Ramiro Toruño came out to discuss with González and also was ejected. Hereafter, Elmer Reyes popped the ball into short right-centerfield. Second baseman Yosmany Guerra ran backwards and appeared to catch the ball. However, rightfielder Curt Smith came in and also had a chance to make the catch. Probably because of the noise in the stadium, they couldn't hear each other. Smith ran into Guerra, the ball fell on the ground and Smith was credited with an error. With two outs, Wuillians Vásquez drove the ball into deep centerfield for a 2-run homerun! With that, Gigantes took a 4-3 lead, which also led to a pitching change. Victor Mateo took over and closed the inning with a strikeout.

Shortly before the start of the bottom of the third inning, umpire Luis González, who was the crew chief, signaled that something was going on near the leftfield-stands. Maybe something was thrown on the field, but also, a dog ran briefly in the outfield. It led to several members of the National Police complete with shields and even with a police dog to come on the field to secure protection of the players. They lined up alongside the leftside and rightside of the playing field (where they stayed the remainder of the game) facing the spectators, but there were no problems. When the game resumed, lead-off hitter Osman Marval walked and next hitter Curt Smith was hit by a pitch. A force play at third base followed, then two strikeouts ended the at bat.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Tigres came alongside when Curt Smith scored. With one out, Smith and Edgard Montiel hit back-to-back doubles to put runners on second and third base. A force play was created by walking Yosmany Guerra intentionally. Hereafter, Smith scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly in foul territory from Jesús López.

In the top of the sixth inning, Gigantes got the bases loaded with two outs, but was unable to score. Juan Carlos Torres led off with a single and next hitter Wuillians Vásquez walked. Hereafter, Jorge Bucardo became the new pitcher for Tigres and got a force play-grounder, which eliminated Torres at third base. But with Vásquez on second base, Bucardo hit Dennis Phipps with a pitch. With two outs, he also hit Luis Alen with a pitch to load the bases, but a comeback-grounder then ended the at bat.

Tigres then broke open the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with a 2-out, 5-run rally. With one out, Ofilio Castro reached on an infield-hit. With two outs, the bases got loaded when reliever Berman Espinoza walked Osman Marval and Curt Smith. Tigres then took a 5-4 lead when next hitter Edgard Montiel was hit by a pitch, which marked the end for Espinoza. He was replaced by Armando Montenegro, who was greeted with a grand slam homerun by Yosmani Guerra that gave Tigres a 9-4 lead! Montenegro is one of the four added players to the roster of Gigantes. In the regular season, he played for Leones de León. Both teams have four additional players, two each from the eliminated teams,Indios del Bóer and Leones de León, including three pitchers each.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Tigres lost Ofilio Castro to an injury. With two outs, the third baseman grounded to third base, but limped shortly after leaving the batter's box and fell down after a few steps. Castro appeared to pull something in the groin-area and had to be carried of the field on a stretcher. Castro is one of the four additional players on the Tigres-roster, as he played for Leones de León in the regular season.

In the top of the eighth inning, Gigantes got another chance to do some scoring, but again left three runners behind. With two outs, Moisés Flores and Luis Alen singled. After a pitching change, Ramón Flores walked, which loaded the bases, but a flyout ended the at bat.

In the top of the ninth, Gigantes scored one more run when Juan Carlos Torres homered with two outs. Hereafter, the game ended with a strikeout for Wuillians Vásquez.

(January 18)

Related Articles:
Gigantes comes from behind, wins in 13th in Nicaraguan Final. (Jan. 17)
Tigres wins 2nd game; Smith scores and has RBI. (Jan. 15)
Curt Smith helps Tigres win opener Nicaraguan Final. (Jan. 14)
Curt Smith and Tigres reach Nicaraguan Final. (Jan. 11)
Tigres retakes lead in Nicaraguan Play-Off. (Jan. 10)
Smith homers, but Tigres lose in Nicaraguan Play-Off. (Jan. 8)
Curt Smith leads Tigres to win in Play-Off opener. (Jan. 7)
Gigantes in Nicaraguan Final. (Jan. 5)

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