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Updated: February 7, 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 champion Águilas Cibaeñas wins Serie del Caribe

MAZATLÁN (México) - Águilas Cibaeñas is the winner of the 63rd edition of the Serie del Caribe. The Dominican champion won 4-1 against Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico) in the Final on Saturday (February 6). With the win, Águilas stayed unbeaten in the event.

On Friday, the two teams won their Semi-Final, but both recorded a small victory, winning with one run difference and both coming from behind. Águilas nipped Federales de Chiriquí (Panama) 4-3 and Criollos won 2-1 against Tomateros de Culiacán (México).

It was the sixth time that Águilas Cibaeñas won the Serie del Caribe. The team last won the event in 2007 when it was played in Carolina (Puerto Rico). It also was the 21st time that a team from the Dominican Republic won the Serie del Caribe. Last year, it was Dominican champion Toros del Este that won in San Juan (Puerto Rico). Tigres del Licey (Dominican Republic) is the recordholder with ten tournament-wins.

It was also announced on Saturday that the next edition of the Serie del Caribe, to be played in February 2022, will be organized in the Dominican Republic.

(February 6)

Águilas Cibaeñas (Dominican Republic) vs. Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico)

Águilas briefly trailed, as Criollos opened the score in the fifth inning. But the Dominicans then came alongside and then turned the game its way from the sixth inning on.

Águilas collected six basehits, including two by both Ramón Torres and Ronald Guzmán. Criollos got four basehits off of four pitchers.

Águilas-starter César Valdez held Criollos both scoreless and hitless in the first four innings. But the 35-year old righthander got two runners on second and third base in the third inning. With one out, Valdez walked Edwin Díaz and Jarren Duran, who then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Henry Ramos. They were left behind, as next batter Yadier Molina flied out.

After retiring the side in the fourth, Valdez gave up a run with two outs in the top of the fifth. With one out, he gave up a single to Juan Centeno, who then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Jarren Duran followed with a runscoring single to put Criollos ahead. The Puerto Ricans got runners at the corners when Henry Ramos also singled. That brought up Yadier Molina. The Major League-veteran hit a line drive, but that was caught by first baseman Ronald Guzmán, which ended the inning.

Águilas got a chance to open the score in its first at bat off of starter Héctor Hernández. The 29-year old lefthander gave up a lead-off double to Ramón Torres. With two outs, Melky Cabrera walked, but the runners were left behind.

Hernández retired the side in the next three innings (three strikeouts in the fourth), but then gave up the tying run in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Johan Camargo homered to make it an 1-1 score.

In the top of the sixth, César Valdez gave up a lead-off single to Vimael Machin and was relieved by Luis Castillo. He saw Machin advance on a sacrifice bunt, but a grounder then ended the at bat.

In the bottom of the sixth, Águilas scored twice to take the lead. New pitcher Anthony Maldonado gave up a lead-off single to Ramón Torres, then a runscoring double to Juan Lagares. With one out, Lagares moved to third base on a grounder by Melky Cabrera, then scored on a single by Ronald Guzmán. Afterwards, Lagares was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament. With Guzmán on first base, Maldonado hit Junior Lake with a pitch and was replaced by Zach Muckenhirn. The American closed with a strikeout, but Águilas now led 3-1. Since 2016, the lefthander pitches in the Minor League in the Baltimore Orioles-organization. He threw in Double-A and Triple-A in 2019. Last year, the entire Minor League-season was cancelled due to the coronavirus-pandemic.

Criollos was unable to get into scoring position in the seventh and eighth inning, leaving a runner behind on first base both times.

In the bottom of the eighth, Águilas added an insurance run off of reliever Fernando Cruz when Ronald Guzmán homered with one out.

In the top of the ninth, with Águilas now leading 4-1, Jumbo Díaz took the mound. He began with a strikeout, then got two grounders that ended the game.

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