Winter League Playoffs 1/24 — Homers By Gimenez and Cortes Not Enough
Not too many Pirates’ players and friends left in the mix, as the four Caribbean leagues continue their championship series:
DOMINICAN LEAGUE (best of 9)
Aguilas Cibaenas 1, Leones del Escogido 0
Los Aguilas earned their first win of the championship series, and took only 2 hits to do it. In the bottom of the 1st, with two out and a walk, a single by RF Brandon Moss with a fielding error in right field put runners on the corners. Then an RBI single drove in the runner from third for the only run of the game. Los Aguilas had runners on base due to walks in the 3rd and 7th innings, but that’s all. Los Leones posted only 4 hits. They went down in order for the first 4 innings, then scattered their 4 hits over the next 3 innings, and finished the game with their last 6 batters retired in order too. Escogido leads the series 3 games to 1.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE (best of 9)
Criollos de Caguas 6, Indios de Mayaguez 5
Los Criollos got a little closer to even in this series, with a win to put the series at 4-3. Los Indios took the early lead with a run in the 1st, and a solo home run in the 2nd. They scored 2 more runs in the 3rd with a single, an error, a walk, and a 2-run RBI single. Los Criollos tied the game with 4 runs in the bottom of the 4th. Three consecutive singles opened the inning and loaded the bases with Criollos. A single into right field drove in one run, leaving the bases still loaded. SS Luis Figueroa doubled, clearing the bases for a 4-4 tie. Los Indios broke the tie quickly with a run on a single and two wild pitches in the top of the 5th. That lead held until the bottom of the 9th, when Los Criollos tied the score again with a single, a walk, and an RBI double. The game sailed into extras, and in the bottom of the 11th, Los Criollos took the win with a single, a bunt, and an RBI walk-off single.
VENEZUELAN LEAGUE (best of 7)
Tiburones del La Guaira 4, Tigres de Aragua 2
Los Tiburones took a 2-0 lead in the series, despite solo home runs by Los Tigres’ 1B Hector Gimenez and RF Jorge Cortes. Los Tigres posted 8 hits and walked 5 times, but Gimenez’s homer in the 6th and Cortes’ in the 9th were the only runs they scored — 10 runners were left on base. Los Tiburones began the game with 2 runs in the top of the 1st, and added one run in the 5th. A home run off Aragua reliever Romulo Sanchez gave Los Tiburones their final run in the 7th. Wil Ledezma took over for Sanchez on the mound to finish the 7th inning with two outs. He came back out to begin the 8th, beginning with a double, but had that runner thrown out trying to steal third. After a strikeout, Ledezma was relieved.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE (best of 7)
Yaquis de Obregon 6, Algodoneros de Guasave 3
Former Pirate farmhand SS Alfredo Amezaga went 3-for-5, with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored for Los Yaquis in their win. He singled and scored in the top of the 1st for Obregon’s first run. Guasave tied the game briefly with a run in the bottom of the 2nd. CF Corey Wimberly led off the top of the 3rd by reaching base on an error, then scored on Amezaga’s RBI double. An RBI single drove in Amezaga, giving Los Yaquis a 3-1 lead. Amezaga led off the 5th with his second double, and scored on a 2-run homer. A solo homer in the 6th pushed Los Yaquis’ lead to 6-1. Guasave rallied in the bottom of the 7th with a 2-run homer of their own, then a run on a hit batter, a single, and an RBI ground out, but it was not enough to catch up to Los Yaquis. Obregon now holds a 3-0 game lead in the series, one game away from a sweep.