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Updated: February 1, 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 courtesy of Águilas Cibaeñas)

Águilas dethrones Tigres and captures Dominican title

SANTO DOMINGO DE GUZMÁN (Dominican Republic) - Águilas Cibaeñas rallied for five runs in the third inning to set the tone in the all-deciding seventh game of the best-of-seven Final against defending champion Tigres del Licey on Wednesday (January 31). Águilas went on to win 11-5 to capture the title of the Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana, the professional league of the Dominican Republic. The team now travels to México on Thursday to participate in the Serie del Caribe, which opens on Friday.

For Águilas, this was its 21st Championship-title, but its first since 2008.

Águilas opened the series last week with an 8-1 score, then won Game 2 the next day with an 8-4 score. On Thursday, Licey cut the deficit in half by winning the third game of the Final with a 4-3 score at home in ten innings. On Friday, Game 4 went underway 45 minutes later than scheduled due to the weather and was halted halfway the fourth inning due to heavy rain. Águilas led 1-0 after Christian Bethancourt had homered in the third inning. After a waiting period of 2 1/2 hours, it still rained and the game was stopped definitively.

The game was re-scheduled for Saturday, but it rained out again, as it also did on Sunday. The game-schedule was then adjusted and Game 4 was moved from the site of Águilas to that of Tigres. There, Tigres won 10-1 thanks to a great pitching perfomance from Netherlands Team-pitcher Jair Jurrjens. With the win, the Final was tied at 2-2. On Tuesday, the two teams split a double-header. Águilas won the opener in the afternoon with a 5-2 score. In the evening, Tigres won 4-3 to force a seventh game.

...Águilas Cibaeñas captured the Dominican title...
(© Photo courtesy of Águilas Cibaeñas (Twitter))
Águilas rallied for five runs in the top of the third inning. Tigres-starter Rolando Valdez got the bases loaded when he walked Ronny Rodriguez and Junior Lake and gave up a single to Jonathan Villar in the middle. Danny Santana followed with a runscoring single, which also brought in new pitcher Francisco Del Rosario. He walked Edwin Espinal, which gave Águilas a 2-0 lead. After an infield-fly accounted for the first out, the next run also was scored on a walk, this time for Christian Bethancourt. That led to another pitching change. Alexis Candelario took over and began with a strikeout. But hereafter, he gave up a 2-run single to Juan Carlos Perez. With runners on second and third base, a grounder ended the at bat, but Águilas had taken an early, decisive lead.

Tigres did something back in the fourth and fifth inning. Juan Francisco led off the fourth with a homerun and in the fifth, a run was scored on a sacrifice fly by Julio Borbón.

Águilas added another run in the sixth on a single by Jonathan Villar, but Tigres then narrowed the deficit to 6-4 by scoring twice in the seventh at bat. With two runners on base and two outs, Erick Aybar delivered a 2-run single. But Tigres was unable to turn the game its way, as Águilas took more distance in the remaining two innings.

In the top of the eighth, Felix Perez led off with a homerun and in the ninth, the team added four more runs. With one out, Johan Camargo batted in two runs with a single and with two outs, Juan Carlos Perez delivered a 2-run double. Perez batted in four runs in this game.

Now trailing 11-4, Tigres managed to score one more run in its ninth on a double play-grounder from Sergio Alcántara.

Christian Bethancourt was named Most Valuable Player of the Championship Final.

(January 31)

Related Articles:
Águilas & Tigres split DH to force 7th game in Dominican Final. (January 30)
Jurrjens leads Tigres to win; Dominican Final at 2-2. (January 29)
Game 4 Dominican Final rains out for third time. (January 28)
Granma repeats as Cuban champs with small win in Game 7. (January 28)
Game 4 Dominican Final rains out again. (January 27)
Game 4 Dominican Final stopped by rain. (January 26)
Jair Jurrjens and Tigres trail in Dominican Final. (January 23-25)

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