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Updated: March 8, 2021
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Copyright © 1997-2021
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2021 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Henk Seppen)

Las Tunas also wins second game of Cuban Semi-Final

SANCTI SPÍRITUS (Cuba) - Leñadores de Las Tunas took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Semi-Final against reigning champion Cocodrilos de Matanzas on Monday-afternoon (March 8) by winning 10-6. The winner of this series will advance to the all-deciding Championship Final of the 60th edition of the Cuban Serie Nacional de Béisbol. Game 3 will be played on Wednesday.

Las Tunas trailed 3-0 after the first inning, but then turned the game around from the third inning on. In that at bat, the team scored four unearned runs. Matanzas committed five errors in today's game. Las Tunas also made two.

Las Tunas collected 15 basehits, including four by Yuniesky Larduet Domínguez and three by Rafael Viñales Alvarez. Matanzas recorded 13 hits, including three by Eduardo Blanco Díaz and Yadil Mujica Díaz.

The winner of this Semi-Final meets Alazanes de Granma in the best-of-seven Championship Final. On February 27, Granma won its best-of-seven Semi-Final against Vegueros de Pinar del Río 4-2 to become the first finalist.

(March 8)

Related Articles:
Las Tunas wins opener second Cuban Semi-Final. (March 7)

Game 2: Matanzas vs. Las Tunas

At Estadio José A. Huelga in Sancti Spíritus, both teams got their lead-off hitter on base in the first at bat. Las Tunas left a runner behind, Matanzas was more successful and rallied for three runs (two unearned).

In the top of the first inning, Yuniesky Larduet Domínguez led off for Las Tunas with a single off of starter Noelvis Entenza González, but he was eliminated in a double play. Danel Castro Moñagorry then reached on an error, but was left behind on first base.

In the bottom of the first inning, Aníbal Medina Pérez opened with a single off of starter Yudier Rodríguez León and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch with one out. Medina then advanced to third base on a single by Jefferson Delgado Castañeda and scored on a following single by Yadir Drake Domínguez. With two outs, Delgado scored the next run when Yariel Duque Salgado reached on an error. With runners on first and second base, Eduardo Blanco Díaz hit a ground-rule double that brought in Drake and lifted the lead to 3-0. Matanzas got the bases loaded when Andrys Pérez Garcia walked, but a force play ended the at bat.

In the top of the second inning, the Matanzas-defense turned another double play, then the team left a runner behind on third base in the home-half of the at bat.

Las Tunas then struck in the top of the third inning and scored four unearned runs to take a 4-3 lead. Matanzas committed three errors in this inning. Héctor Castillo Blair led off with a walk and Yuniesky Larduet Domínguez followed with a single. The two moved on a sacrifice bunt on a 3-2 count by Andrés Quiala Herrera, who himself reached first base safely on an error. With the bases now loaded and no outs, Danel Castro Moñagorry hit a pop-fly into right/centerfield just behind the infield-border (no infield-fly). Second baseman Aníbal Medina Pérez ran towards the ball and appeared to be able to catch it, but then collided with the approaching rightfielder Yadir Drake Domínguez. The ball dropped, Castillo and Larduet both scored, while Las Tunas now had runners on second and third base and still no outs. Next batter Yosvani Alarcón Tardio grounded to the first base side, which led to the third error. Pitcher Entenza fielded the ball, then threw it widely passed catcher Andrys Pérez Garcia, enabling Quiala to score the tying run. And so, the score was now tied, Las Tunas had runners at the corners and there were still no outs. At this moment in the inning, there already could have been three outs and no runs given up. Alarcón then advanced advanced to second base on a grounder. Moments later, Castro scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Yordanis Alarcón Tardio. With a runner on third base, next batter Andrés De La Cruz Matos hit a line drive. That was caught by the second baseman to end the inning, but Las Tunas now led 4-3.

...Danel Castro playing for Cuba in the 2010...
...Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands...
...Today, he batted in two runs and...
...scored once for Las Tunas...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Las Tunas added two more runs in the top of the fourth. With one out, Héctor Castillo Blair tripled, then scored on a wild pitch. Hereafter, Yuniesky Larduet Domínguez singled and advanced on a bad hop-grounder towards short by next batter Andrés Quiala Herrera. As the ball was fielded by third baseman Jefferson Delgado Castañeda, Larduet continued to third base. There, a collission followed with short stop Yadil Mujica Díaz and pitcher Entenza, who both fell atop Larduet's legs. After being treated, Larduet was able to continue, then scored the next run on a single by veteran Danel Castro Moñagorry.

Matanzas left runners behind on first and third base in its fourth at bat, then both teams were retired in order in the fifth.

Las Tunas took more distance by scoring three runs in the top of the sixth. These three runs also were unearned. Manuel Alejandro Avila Martínez led off with a single and with one out, Larduet also singled. With runners on first and second base, next batter Quiala also connected for a single. On his basehit through the middle, Avila ran towards the plate. Centerfielder Eduardo Blanco Díaz made a strong throw, but the ball ended up in the ground in front of catcher Pérez and jumped over his glove, which was the fifth error by the Matanzas-defense. When the ball would not have jumped up, Pérez surely would have had a chance to tag out Avila, who now scored. As the ball ended up near the backstop, Larduet also scored, which made it an 8-3 score. A pitching change followed and Jonder Martínez Martínez took over from Entenza. Quiala, who had ended up on third base on the error, then scored the next run on a sacrifice fly by Castro. With two outs, Yosvani Alarcón Tardio doubled and Rafael Viñales Alvarez singled, but they were left behind, as a flyout ended the at bat.

The scoring wasn't over yet. After both teams were retired in order in the seventh inning, Las Tunas scored its tenth run in the top of the eighth. With one out, Quiala singled and Castro walked. With two runners on base, Armando Dueñas Moré became the new pitcher. He began with a strikeout, but then gave up a runscoring double to Viñales, which made it a 10-3 score.

Matanzas narrowed the deficit to 10-5 by scoring twice in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Yasiel Santoya Zulueta and Eduardo Blanco Díaz began with singles and the two advanced on a wild pitch. With one out, the two respectively scored on a single by Yadil Mujica Díaz and a grounder by Aníbal Medina Pérez.

Matanzas got another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the ninth. The team would have left a runner behind on third base, but he went on to score an unearned run. Yosbel Alarcón Tardio took over the pitching, but was greeted with a lead-off double by Jefferson Delgado Castañeda. With one out, he advanced to third base on a flyout. Next batter Yasiel Santoya Zulueta then hit a comebacker to Alarcón. Via Alarcon's leg, the ball changed direction and ended up at third baseman (and his brother) Yordanis Alarcón Tardio, but he then made a throwing error to first base, enabling Delgado to score. Hereafter, Matanzas got runners on second and third base when Eduardo Blanco Díaz doubled. But they were left behind, as a flyout in centerfield ended the at bat and the game.

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