The Venezuelan Summer League championship came down to one game today, as the VSL Pirates and the VSL Mariners entered today’s game tied at one game a piece in a best of three series. The Pirates came away victorious with a 21-2 victory, thanks to runs scored in each of the first seven innings, including a ten run third inning.
The Pirates got a strong start from Roberto Espinoza, who allowed runs in each of the first two innings, then settled down to pitch six innings, allowing just those two runs on four hits, with two walks and three strikeouts. Espinoza was expected to be the staff ace for the VSL Pirates this year, following a 2009 season which saw him put up a 2.74 ERA in 62.1 innings, with a 48:22 K/BB ratio and a .188 BAA. Espinoza wasn’t as sharp in his second season in the VSL, but came through tonight.
Jesus Barraza and Raul Ruiz combined for three perfect innings, with Barraza recording two of those innings. Barraza, in his second year in the VSL, pitched 33.1 innings in the regular season, with an 0.54 ERA, and a 15:5 K/BB ratio. The left handed Ruiz is in his third year in the VSL, and had a 1.63 ERA in 27.2 innings this year, with a 15:4 K/BB ratio.
The offense of course was on fire today. Luis Cardona went 4-for-6 from the leadoff spot, with a double, a triple, and four RBIs. Francisco Aponte went 3-for-5 with four runs, two RBIs, and a stolen base. Aponte stole 28 bases in 63 games during the 2010 season, and was only caught stealing five times. David Pino went 3-for-6 with a run and three RBIs.
Three first year players for the VSL Pirates came up big tonight. Jose Ozuna went 4-for-6 with a double, two runs, and three RBIs. Ozuna led the VSL this year with ten homers. Jose Ortiz went 2-for-4 with a double, a homer, two walks, three runs, and three RBIs. Ulises Montilla went 2-for-5 with three runs, a walk, and two RBIs.
The championship was the second for the VSL Pirates in the last three seasons, and the team has advanced to the championship five years in a row. The last championship also came against the VSL Mariners in 2008.