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Updated: February 4, 2021
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Copyright © 1997-2021
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2021 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

Dominican and Puerto Rican teams in Semi-Final of Serie del Caribe

MAZATLÁN (México) - Dominican Winter League-champion Águilas Cibaeñas won its fourth game on Wednesday (February 3) to remain unbeaten and become the first team to clinch the Semi-Finals of the Serie del Caribe. The team shutout Caribes de Anzoátegui (Venezuela) 2-0 on Day 4 of the event.

Caimanes de Barranquilla (Colombia) suffered its fourth loss, ending up short 2-1 against Criollos de Aguas (Puerto Rico), which won its third game and therefore also secured a spot in the Semi-Final. With its fourth loss, Caimanes was eliminated for the Semi-Final. After having lost two days in a row, host Tomateros de Culiacán (México) recorded a 6-3 win against Federales de Chririquí (Panama).

The event went underway on Sunday. All teams will face each other in the tournament through Thursday. On Friday, the top-four will play in the Semi-Finals. The two winners then will meet in the Final on Saturday.

All games are played in Estadio Teodoro Mariscal, which is the home of Venados de Mazatlán. Spectators are allowed, but only 40 percent of the stadium's seating capacity (which is 16.000) will be used, due to the corona-measures. All spectators must wear face coverings and observe social distances.

(February 3)

Águilas Cibaeñas (Dominican Republic) vs. Caribes de Anzoátegui (Venezuela)

In Wednesday's opening game, Águilas Cibaeñas scored the deciding runs in the seventh inning. The team was outhit 6-4, but five pitchers held Caribes scoreless. With the win, the Dominican champion became the first team to qualify for the Semi-Finals, which will be played on Friday.

In its first six at bats, Águilas got only three runners in scoring position. In the first, a runner stranded on second base. In the third, Robel García led off with a double, but was eliminated on following grounder to short. And in the fourth, the team left runners behind on first and third base. The Dominican squad was retired in order three times.

The team then struck in the bottom of the seventh inning off of new pitcher Loiger Padrón. Junior Lake led off with a single, then Ramón Torres walked. With one out, both scored when Robel García hit his second double in the game.

Caribes got into scoring position only three times in the entire game. The team left a runner on second base in the second and was retired in a row in the fourth and fifth. The Venezuelans then got some scoring opportunities in the sixth and seventh inning.

With one out in the sixth, Niuman Romero and Ali Castillo both singled, but a flyout and groundout followed. In the seventh, Danry Vásquez walked with one out, but was forced out on a grounder by Luis Sardiñas. Jesús Sucre then singled, but again the runners were left behind on first and second base.

Criollos de Aguas (Puerto Rico) vs. Caimanes de Barranquilla (Colombia)

Criollos de Aguas nipped Caimanes de Barranquilla 2-1 in the second game on Wednesday. With that, the Puerto Rican champion also secured itself of a spot in the Semi-Finals, which will be played on Friday.

Criollos initially trailed, then came alongside in the third and scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

Both starting pitchers had a good outing. Criollos-starter Tommy Romero struckout six batters and gave up three hits in 5 1/3 inning. Caimanes-starter Reiver Sanmartín also gave up three basehits in his five innings and struckout eight batters. Hereafter, almost all relievers also did well. Romero's four successors gave up no more basehits in the remaining 3 2/3 inning. Four pitchers also pitched in relief for Caimanes. They gave up two more basehits, but also the deciding run.

Caimanes opened the score in the top of the second inning. With one out, Dilson Herrera walked, then scored on a following double by Jordan Díaz.

Criollos came alongside in the bottom of the third. Jonathan Morales led off with a single and moved to second base on an one-out single by Jarren Duran. Morales was forced out on third base on a grounder by Henry Ramos, but then Duran scored on a following single by Yadier Molina.

In the sixth inning, Caimanes got its next runner in scoring position when Evan Mendoza led off with a single and Harold Ramírez doubled. Two strikeouts and a flyout followed. The Colombian team was retired in order in its final three at bats.

Criollos was retired in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth inning. With two outs in the seventh, the team got two baserunners, but they stranded on first and second base.

After being retired in order again in the eighth, Criollos got the bases loaded with one out off of reliever Cody Mincey in the bottom of the ninth. The first batter struckout, but then Johneshwy Fargas doubled. A force play was created via an intentional walk for Vimael Machin. Fargas then stole third base. Caimanes challenged the decision at third base, but the call was held up. Hereafter, pinch-hitter Rey Fuentes was also walked intentionally, which loaded the bases. However, next batter Jonathan Morales then received a normal walk. And with that, Criollos scored the winning run and the game ended.

Federales de Chiriquí (Panama) vs. Tomateros de Culiacán (México)

Tomateros de Culiacán trailed 1-0 after three innings, but then scored four runs on a grand slam homerun by Julián León in the fourth, which was decisive for the outcome.

Federales scored the first run in the game in the bottom of the second inning. David Rodríguez led off with a double, then advanced when next batter Héctor Gómez reached on an error. Rodríguez scored when Willy García grounded into a double play.

Tomateros left runners behind on first and third base in the second inning, but struck in the fourth. After the first two batters had flied out, Efrén Navarro and Jesús Castillo Montaño walked. Ernesto 'Walter' Silva then took over the pitching from starter Luis Machuca. Silva saw the two runners advance on a wild pitch, then next batter Victor Hugo Mendoza was walked intentionally to set up a force play. With the bases now loaded, Julián León connected well and hit a grand slam homerun!

Federales got one run back in the sixth when Jhonny Santos led off with a homerun. But Tomateros added another run in the top of the seventh. With one out, Jesús Fabela, José Guadalupe Chávez and Ramiro Peña all singled, which produced the run and made it a 5-2 score.

With two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth, Tomateros scored another run when José Guadalupe Chávez reached on an error.

Federales was able to score one more run in the bottom of the eighth on a 2-out single by Allen Córdoba.

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