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Updated: February 5, 2021
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Copyright © 1997-2021
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2021 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

Panama and México also advance to Semi-Final of Serie del Caribe

MAZATLÁN (México) - Mexican champion Tomateros de Culiacán and Panamese representative Federales de Chiriquí advanced to the Semi-Final of the Serie del Caribe on Thursday (February 4), Day 5 of the event. Both teams qualified today in the tenth inning of the final game of the round-robin. On Wednesday, Águilas Cibaeñas (Dominican Republic) and Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico) already had qualified for the Top-4.

Federales began the day with a 9-8 loss against Criollos de Caguas, which finished in second place. With that, the result of the evening-game between Tomateros and Caribes de Anzoátegui (Venezuela) would be decisive.

In the afternoon, Dominican champion Águilas Cibaeñas remained unbeaten, but won only 3-2 against Caimanes de Barranquilla (Colombia), which suffered its fifth loss.

In the evening, Tomateros won 4-3 in ten innings against Caribes. With that, the Mexican squad moved into third place, while the team from Panama ended up in fourth place and Caribes in fifth. A win by the Venezuelans would have resulted in a 3-way tie with México and Panama. The head-to-head results also would create a tie. But due to the Mexican win, everything was decided. Tomateros and Federales qualified for the Semi-Final and Caribes was eliminated.

The two Semi-Finals will be played on Friday. Águilas then meets Federales and Criollos will play against Tomateros. The two winners then will meet in the Final on Saturday.

(February 4)

Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico) vs. Federales de Chiriquí (Panama)

With a win, Federales de Chiriquí could have secured themselves of a spot in the Semi-Final. However, the team ended up just short and lost 9-8. With that, it had to wait for the result of the game between Tomateros and Caribes in the evening. And that ended in favor of the Panamanian squad.

Federales opened the game against Criollos with a 5-run rally in the top of the first inning. Nevertheless, the team ended up empty-handed. Federales collected 14 basehits, including three by David Rodríguez. Jarren Duran had three hits for Criollos.

Federales had a productive first at bat off of starter Jason Garcia, who gave up five hits and five runs. Jonathan Araúz led off with a double. With one out, Allen Córdoba and David Rodríguez singled, which led to the first run. The bases got loaded when Héctor Gómez walked. Next batter >Rodrigo Vigil then also walked, resulting in the second run. Two more runs were added on a single by Carlos Quiroz. A grounder by Jhonny Santos led to a force out, but then a single by Rodrigo Orozco made it a 5-0 score.

In the next four innings, Federales was held scoreless, while Criollos kept on scoring, taking a 6-5 lead in the fourth.

Criollos got one run back in its first at bat when Jarren Duran led off with a homerun off of starter Harold Araúz. The team added its second run in the second inning on a 2-out single by Jeremy Rivera.

Criollos came alongside in the bottom of the third inning. Henry Ramos, Yadier Molina and Vimael Machin all singled, resulting in a run. Austin Warner then took over the pitching, but gave up the fourth consecutive single to Emmanuel Rivera, which loaded the bases. He then walked Rey Fuentes and gave up a sacrifice fly to Jonathan Morales, which tied the score.

In the fourth, Warner walked the first three batters, then got a sacrifice fly by Vimael Machin and that put Criollos ahead, 6-5.

In the top of the fifth, it was Federales that came alongside. After the first three batters had reached base (two singles, hit by pitch) and after a pitching change, the tying run was scored on a double play-grounder by Carlos Quiroz.

However, in the bottom of the fifth inning, Criollos scored three runs to take a 9-6 lead. Jonathan Morales led off with a double and scored on a following single by Juan Centeno. With one out, Jarren Duran also singled, then Henry Ramos connected for a 2-run single.

Federales was held scoreless again in the sixth, seventh and eighth inning, but then scored twice in the top of the ninth. Reliever Joshua Torres gave up two singles to Jesús López and Allen Córdoba. With one out, they scored on a single by Héctor Gómez and a double by Rodrigo Vigil, which narrowed the deficit to 9-8. With runners on second and third base, the bases got loaded when pinch-hitter Belarmino Campos was hit by a pitch. Fernando Cruz was then inserted as new pitcher. Federales left three runners behind, as a flyout and a strikeout ended the at bat. And the game.

Águilas Cibaeñas (Dominican Republic) vs. Caimanes de Barranquilla (Colombia)

Águilas Cibaeñas nipped Caimanes de Barranquilla 3-2 to remain unbeaten. The Dominican champion trailed 2-0 and scored the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Starting pitchers Edison Frías (Caimanes) and Yunesky Maya Mendizula (Águilas) both had a good outing. 30-year old Dominican righthander Frías struckout four batters and gave up four basehits in five innings. Maya also had four strikeouts in the six innings he pitched. But the 39-year old Cuban righthander also gave up five hits and two runs.

Caimanes opened the score in the top of the fourth inning. Evan Mendoza and Harold Ramírez led off with singles, then moved via a sacrifice bunt by Carlos Martínez. A sacrfice fly by Jordan Díaz then accounted for the first run and Dilson Herrera followed with an RBI-double to give Caimanes a 2-0 lead.

Pitcher Yunesky Maya recovered and closed with a strikeout and retired the side in the fifth. He then gave up a single in the sixth, but that runner was forced out. Lisalverto Bonilla took over the pitching for Águilas in the seventh and held Caimanes scoreless in the next three innings. Last year, the righthander pitched in Taiwan.

In the bottom of the sixth, Águilas got one run back off of new pitcher Ronald Ramírez. He gave up a lead-off single to Melky Cabrera, followed with a strikeout, but got runners on second and third base when Robel García doubled. Next batter Johan Camargo singled to bring in Cabrera and cut the deficit in half. And it also led to a pitching change. Hereafter, reliever Jean Ruiz was supported with a double play.

Águilas came alongside in the seventh. Juan Carlos Pérez led off with a single, then moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Ramón Torres. Next batter Junior Lake walked and a grounder by Robinson Canó led to a force out. Jalen Miller then took over the pitching, but he was greeted with a 2-out double by Melky Cabrera that brought in the tying run.

Caimanes got its first batter on base in the top of the ninth when Harold Ramírez reached on an error. He moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Carlos Martínez and reached third base on a force play-grounder. But Lisalverto Bonilla then closed with a strikeout.

Águilas decided the game in the bottom of the ninth. Ramón Torres led off with a walk and stole second base. With one out, a force play was created by walking Major League-veteran Robinson Canó intentionally. Luis De Ávila then was brought in as new pitcher and got a flyout. However, Torres and Canó then were awarded the next base on a balk. And with two outs, Rangel Ravelo connected for a walk-off single that gave Águilas a 3-2 win.

Tomateros de Culiacán (México) vs. Caribes de Anzoátegui (Venezuela)

The fifth day of the Serie del Caribe closed with the game that was crucial for both Tomateros and Caribes, but also for the Panamanian squad of Federales de Chiriquí. Like Águilas in the previous game, Tomateros came from behind. The Mexicans trailed 3-0 halfway the eighth inning, but then came alongside and went on to win in ten innings. With that, both Tomateros and Federales advanced to the Semi-Finals, while Caribes was eliminated.

Sebastián Elizalde Ramos recorded three of the 13 Mexican basehits. Jesús Sucre had three hits for the Venezuelans.

Caribes scored its first run in the top of the third inning off of Tomateros-starter Edgar Arredondo. After already having played in the Minor League for Texas Rangers, the 23-year old Arredondo signed a new contract with Arizona Diamondbacks in late December. In the third, the righthander began with a strikeout, but then gave up a homerun to Danry Vásquez. Caribes got runners on first and second base with two outs, but they were left behind.

In the fifth, the Venezuelans added two more runs to take a 3-0 lead. Luis Sardiñas and Danry Vásquez opened with singles, which gave the team runners at the corners. The two advanced on a grounder by Jesús Sucre which made it a 2-0 score. With two outs, the next run was scored on a single by Alí Castillo. Now leading 3-0, Caribes got a chance to add another run. After Castillo had stolen second base, Niuman Romero was walked intentionally. Aldo Montes then took over the pitching, but got the bases loaded after walking Willians Astudillo. But a grounder ended the at bat.

Hereafter, Caribes was kept scoreless in the remainder of the game, but the team came close to another run in the top of the eighth. New pitcher Derrick Loop gave up a lead-off single to Oswaldo Arcia, but he was forced out with one out on a grounder by Luis Sardiñas. The latter moved when Danry Vásquez walked. Another pitching followed and Sasagi Sánchez took over. He gave up a single to Jesús Sucre and Sardiñas was waved home, where he was tagged out by catcher Julián León on a throw from leftfielder Efrén Navarro. Caribes challenged the call of Home Plate Umpire Roberto Ortíz, but after a review, the call was upheld and thus, the inning ended.

In the bottom of the eighth, the game started to turn around, as Tomateros came alongside. American lefthander Logan Darnell started for Caribes and threw seven fine innings. Darnell, who turned 32 on February 2, struckout six batters and gave up seven basehits, but held the Mexicans scoreless. Last year, Darnell played in South Korea. In 2014, he briefly pitched in the Major League for Minnesota Twins.

In the eighth, Pedro Rodríguez relieved Logan Darnell. He got two quick outs, but then ran into problems. José Guadalipe Chávez singled and Ramiro Peña was hit by a pitch. Sebastián Elizalde (1-run) and Joey Meneses (2-run) followed with RBI-doubles, which made it a 3-3 score! Yapson Gómez was then inserted as new pitcher and got an inning-ending grounder, but it was a new ballgame.

In the top of the ninth, Caribes got its first two batters on base (hit by pitch, walk), but a double play and strikeout followed.

Tomateros got a bigger chance to decide the game in the bottom of the ninth. Isaac Paredes led off with a triple off of new pitcher Silvino Bracho. An intentional walk was then issued to Juan Carlos Gamboa. He advanced on a grounder, which kept Paredes at third base. With first base now open, Jesús Fabela was also walked intentionally. Bracho then closed with two strikeouts and the game went into extra innings.

The tenth inning was played via the international tie-break rule, so starting with a runner on second base. For Caribes, a strikeout and double play ended the at bat.

In the bottom of the tenth, Ramiro Peña was the tie-break runner on second base. New pitcher Liarvis Breto then walked Sebastián Elizalde and gave up a single to José Cardona, which loaded the bases. With three runners on base and after a flyout, José Ascanio became the new pitcher. He saw Isaac Paredes hit a line drive, but that was caught by first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor. But with two outs, Juan Carlos Gamboa connected for a walk-off single that gave Tomateros a 4-3 win, as Peña scored the winning run.

And with that, Tomateros qualified for the Semi-Finals. As did Federales de Chiriquí from Panama.

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