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Updated: April 2, 2021
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Copyright © 1997-2021
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2021 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

Matanzas wins on wild pitch to force sixth game in Cuban Final

SANCTI SPÍRITUS (Cuba) - Cocodrilos de Matanzas won 4-3 on Friday-afternoon (April 2) against Alazanes de Granma in Game 5 of the best-of-seven Championship Final of the 60th edition of the Serie Nacional de Béisbol. With the win, Matanzas forced a sixth game, which will be played on Sunday.

In the opener on Sunday, Granma nipped the reigning champion 3-2. On Monday, Granma came from behind in the second game and won 6-5.

Matanzas then won its first game of the Final on Wednesday with a 3-1 score. The next day, Granma took a 3-1 lead by recording a big 15-5, mercy-rule win in seven innings.

In Game 5, Matanzas took an early 3-0 lead, but Granma scored twice in the fourth and came alongside in the eighth. Matanzas then won in the bottom of the ninth on a wild pitch. Both teams collected ten basehits.

The Cuban Final is played in its entirety at Estadio José Antonio Huelga in Sancti Spíritus.

(April 2)

Related Articles:
Granma wins big to take 3-1 lead in Cuban Final. (April 1)
First win for Matanzas in Cuban Final. (March 31)
Granma also wins 2nd game vs. Matanzas in Cuban Final. (March 29)
Granma nips Matanzas in opener Cuban Final. (March 28)
Cuban Final postponed; Cuba participates in tournament on Curaçao in April. (March 18)
Semi-Final Matanzas vs. Las Tunas
Matanzas wins again to advance to Cuban Final. (March 14)
Matanzas takes lead in Cuban Semi-Final. (March 12)
Matanzas wins in 11 innings to even Cuban Semi-Final. (March 11)
Matanzas avoids sweep with 1-0 win in Cuban Semi-Final. (March 10)
Las Tunas also wins second game of Cuban Semi-Final. (March 8)
Las Tunas wins opener second Cuban Semi-Final. (March 7)
Quarter Final Las Tunas vs. Santiago de Cuba
Las Tunas wins again to advance to Cuban Semi-Final. (March 4)
Las Tunas takes lead with another shutout in Cuban Quarter Final. (March 2)
Las Tunas records shutout-win, as last Cuban Quarter Final resumes. (February 28)
Semi-Final Granma vs. Pinar del Río
Granma wins again to advance to Cuban Championship Final. (February 27)
Granma takes third lead in Cuban Semi-Final with big win. (February 25)
Pinar del Río comes alongside again in Cuban Semi-Final. (February 24)
Granma re-takes lead in Cuban Semi-Final. (February 23)
Pinar del Río wins big in second game Cuban Semi-Final. (February 21)
Cuba: 1st Semi-Final started; Last Quarter Final resumes in week. (February 20)
Quarter Final Matanzas vs. Cienfuegos
Matanzas sweeps Cienfuegos to reach Cuban Semi-Finals. (February 17)
Quarter Finals Cuba temporarily interrupted; 2 teams to Semi-Final. (February 12)

Game 5: Matanzas vs. Granma

Matanzas left a runner behind in scoring position in the first inning and was retired in order in the second. The reiging champion then rallied for three runs on five basehits in the third inning. Granma-starter Lázaro Blanco Matos walked lead-off hitter Andrys Pérez Garcia, then gave up a bunt-single to Eduardo Blanco Díaz. With one out, the bases got loaded when Yadil Mujica Díaz also singled. Hereafter, Ariel Sánchez Sánchez accounted for the third single to bring in the first run and keep the bases loaded. Matanzas scored its next run on a force play-grounder by Yadir Drake Domínguez and made it a 3-0 score on a following single by Yariel Duque Salgado. The bases got loaded again when Javier Camero Rodríguez also singled, but three runners were left behind when a following grounder ended in a force play.

Granma got only baserunner in its first three at bats off of starter Yoanni Yera Montalvo. In the first inning, he gave up an one-out single to Osvaldo Abreu Sánchez, but he was eliminated in a double play.

In the top of the fourth inning, Granma narrowed the deficit to 3-2. Roel Santos Martínez led off with a walk, then Osvaldo Abreu Sánchez singled. Santos then scored on a single by Raico Santos Almeida. That brought Abreu to third base and he then scored the second run on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Benítez Pérez. Moments later, Santos stole second base, then tried to score on a single by Guillermo José Avilés Difurnó, but was eliminated at the plate. A strikeout ended the at.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Matanzas came close to another run, but that at bat also ended with an out on the plate. Andrys Pérez Garcia and Eduardo Blanco Díaz opened with singles, but the next two batters struckout. Pérez then tried to score on a single by Ariel Sánchez Sánchez, but was called out by Home Plate Umpire Ernesto Daniel Del Risco Velázquez in a close play at the plate. Del Risco had a great view of the play and saw that Sánchez was tagged out by catcher Iván Prieto González just before tagging the plate. A review followed, but the call was upheld and so, the inning ended.

In the top of the fifth, Granma left a runner behind on second and third base. Guillermo García García led off with a single and moved on sacrifice bunt by Yulián Rafael Milán Santos. With two outs, Granma got runners at the corners when Roel Santos Martínez singled. Santos then stole second base, but a grounder ended the at bat.

There were no scoring opportunities in the following innings, but Granma then came alongside in the top of the eighth and coud have had a chance to take the lead. Pinch-hitter Miguel Antonio González Puente led off with a single. His pinch-runner Darién Palma Fonseca then advanced to third base on a single by Roel Santos Martínez. The latter also moved into scoring position on a grounder by Osvaldo Abreu Sánchez. With first base open, a force play was set up with an intentional walk for Raico Santos Almeida. Palma then scored the tying run when powerhitter Carlos Benítez Pérez followed with a line drive single into leftfield, where leftfielder Ariel Sánchez Sánchez fielded the ball. Roel Santos advanced to third base, ignored the stop-sign of 3B Coach Ramón Esteban Rodríguez Rondón and also wanted to score. He reacted too late and nearly collided with coach Rodríguez, who fell down backwards when he tried to get out of the way of the runner. Santos briefly turned to return to third base, but at that moment, Sánchez already had thrown the ball to third baseman Yadil Mujica Díaz. Santos then resumed to run again towards the plate, but got in a rundown, as Mujica threw the ball to catcher Andrys Pérez Garcia, who tagged out the runner. It was a costly and crucial situation. Instead of keeping the bases loaded with one out, there were now two outs with runners on first and third base, as Raico Santos had advanced on the throw. The inning ended with a foul pop-fly. Luckily, coach Rodríguez didn't injured himself during his fall. In 2017, the experienced Rodríguez was a member of the coaching staff of the National Cuban Team during the World Baseball Classic.

In the bottom of the eighth, Matanzas got its first batter on base, but an attempt for a sacrifice bunt ended in a double play (56-64), then a strikeout closed the at bat.

Granma was retired in order in the top of the ninth, then Matanzas decided the game moments later. Pinch-hitter Juan Miguel Vázquez Trujillo led off with a single off of reliever Carlos René Santana Santiesteban, who had entered the game in the seventh inning. His pinch-runner Yoisnel Camejo Delgado then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Eduardo Blanco Díaz and moved to third base on a grounder by Aníbal Medina Pérez. A pitching change followed and Miguel David Paradelo Aguilar took over from Santana. His first three pitches to Yadil Mujica Díaz were balls and the batter was then put on base with an intentional walk. On Paradelo's first pitch (a strike) to Ariel Sánchez Sánchez, Mujica stole second base. On the next pitch by the lefthander, Sánchez swung but misses. Now with an 0-2 count, Paradelo's next delivery was outside and in the ground, resulting in a walk-off wild pitch! Camejo raced to the plate to score the winning and with that, Matanzas forced a sixth game.

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