Winter Leagues 12/28 — Ledezma Earns First Win; Dominican Playoffs
Looking in on a few Pirates’ players and friends in winter league action:
Tigres de Aragua 6, Leones del Caracas 3
Wil Ledezma was the pitcher of record when Los Tigres took a lead they would not surrender in the 6th inning. Los Tigres got onto the scoreboard first, with a run in the 3rd by CF Jorge Cortes. Cortes led off with a single, then came around to score on a single and a bunt with a throwing error. Caracas’ CF Corey Wimberly doubled in a run in the bottom of the 5th, then scored another run to give Los Leones a 2-1 lead. Ledezma entered the game immediately after Wimberly scored, and he finished that 5th inning, then retired the side in order in the bottom of the 6th. Los Tigres came right back with two runs of their own in the top of the 6th, on a walk, a single, and a double, for a 3-2 lead. They added another 2 in the top of the 8th, on a solo homer, followed by three singles. Aragua’s final run came in the top of the 9th on a walk, a wild pitch, and a single. Los Leones also scored one run in the bottom of the 9th, but could not get any further.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Gigantes de Carolina 2, Leones de Ponce 1
A walk and two singles gave Los Gigantes the winning run in the top of the 9th inning. Los Leones had scored first, way back in the 2nd inning, with a single, a bunt, and a single. Six innings later, in the top of the 9th, reliever and RJ Rodriguez took the mound for Los Leones, and Benji Gonzalez came in to play shortstop. Rodriguez was charged with a Blown Save when he allowed an unearned run on a fielding error, and an RBI single, tying the score at 1-1. Los Leones threatened in the bottom of the 9th, with a double, a walk, and a single, but the lead runner was thrown out at the plate. Gonzalez walked to lead off the bottom of the 10th, and a single and a walk loaded the bases for Ponce, but all three were left on base.
DOMINICAN LEAGUE (playoffs have started)
Leones del Escogido 9, Tigres del Licey 4 (Tuesday)
Los Leones pounded out 15 hits on their way to 9 runs, scoring in each of their last four at-bats. RF Starling Marte doubled in the top of the 1st, but did not score. He was also hit by a pitch to load the bases in the 8th, but again was left on base. Former Pirate C Ronny Paulino drove in one of Los Tigres’ 3 runs in the 6th with his RBI single. SS Yamaico Navarro went 0-for-3 with a walk in the 6th.
Aguilas Cibaenas 3, Gigantes del Cibao 0 (Tuesday)
As is common in the Caribbean leagues during the playoffs, some players from the teams that are out of the competition are “drafted” by other teams — so, Pedro Ciriaco joins his brother Audy on Los Aguilas Cibaenas. Also new to Los Aguilas is outfielder Brandon Moss. Los Aguilas’ pitchers held Los Gigantes to just 5 hits in the shutout. A walk, a single, and an RBI ground out gave Los Aguilas their first run in the 6th inning. After a single and a throwing error in the 7th inning, Pedro Ciriaco singled up the middle, driving in a run. Another single drove in Ciriaco for the final run of the game. C Robinzon Diaz went 0-for-4 for Los Gigantes.
Leones del Escogido 5, Aguilas Cibaenas 4 (Wednesday)
Los Aguilas scored all of their runs in one swoop, with a big 5th inning. SS Pedro Ciriaco followed a lead-off double with a single, sending the runner to third base. A sacrifice fly drove in that run, then a hit batter put two runners on base again. The second double of the inning brought Ciriaco across the plate, and RF Brandon Moss’ sacrifice fly plated the third run of the inning. The fourth run scored when 3B Audy Ciriaco reached base on a fielding error. Los Escogido scored one run in each of 5 consecutive innings, with the winning run coming in the 7th inning. An RBI single brought in the run in the 3rd, and a sacrifice fly did it in the 4th. CF Starling Marte drove in the run int he 5th with his RBI ground out. Another RBI single did the trick in the 6th, and a solo homer gave Los Leones the go-ahead run in the 7th.
Tigres del Licey 6, Gigantes del Cibao 4 (Wednesday)
Each team scored 2 runs early in the game — Los Tigres on a walk and two doubles in the 5th, and Los Gigantes on a double, a single, and a throwing error by SS Yamaico Navarro. Six innings later, in the top of the 13th, Los Tigres loaded the bases with a single, a hit batter, and a walk. Navarro contributed a sacrifice bunt to move the first two runners along. A grand slam brought all the runners in and gave Los Tigres a 6-2 lead. Los Gigantes came back with two doubles, including one by C Robinzon Diaz, and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning, but ran out of outs before they could catch up. C Ronny Paulino singled twice for Los Tigres, and Diaz went 3-for-6. Navarro went 0-for-5 plus the sacrifice bunt.
Perth Heat 9, Adelaide Bite 6
The Aussies are back in action after a long holiday break, and Adelaide’s 1B Calvin Anderson celebrated with a home run, a single, and 2 RBI. The first RBI came in the bottom of the 1st, when Anderson’s single up the middle drove in a runner from second base. Perth tied the score with a solo homer in the 3rd, then took a 3-1 lead with a 2-run homer in the top of the 4th. Back-to-back homers by CF Denny Almonte (Mariners) and Anderson to begin the bottom of the 4th tied the score again. The Bite took the lead in the 5th, with a run on two singles and a throwing error, then Almonte’s second homer of the game, a 2-run blast that also scored 3B Stefan Welch. The 6-3 lead did not last long, though. The Heat came back with a 2-run homer in the 6th, getting within one run of the Bite. Rinku Singh came on to pitch the top of the 7th for the Bite, but he gave up the tying run on a double, a walk, and an RBI grounder. Singh was charged with a Blown Save, and Ryan Beckman suffered the loss when he gave up a 3-run homer in the 8th. Welch went 0-for-4 with a walk in his first regular-season game for the Bite, and Anderson was 2-for-4.
Brisbane Bandits 6, Canberra Cavalry 1
Bandits’ pitcher Alex Maestri pitched a complete game and allowed only 2 hits and one unearned run. One of the hits was a double in the 3rd, and after a stolen base and a walk, the Cavalry had runners on the corners, but could not score. Double plays eliminated other Cavalry base runners and helped keep Canberra scoreless until the top of the 9th. With two outs, a fielding error put a runner on first, and C Travis Scott smacked the Cavalry’s only other hit of the game. The runner on first raced around to score, but the throw in from center field had Scott out at third, to end the game.