Winter League Playoffs 1/6 — Hernandez Goes 4-for-4; Welch Homers
Playoffs continue in the Caribbean Leagues, with a few Pirates’ players and friends:
Tigres de Aragua 5, Aguilas del Zulia 3
Los Tigres picked up a playoff win, and they got started with a 3-run 1st inning. A double and two singles plated the first run, then a sacrifice fly and another single brought in two more. Los Aguilas scored one run in the 4th, on two singles and a sacrifice fly by C Carlos Maldonado. Los Tigres answered with 2 runs in the bottom of the frame. CF Jorge Cortes tripled, then scored on a single. Jonel Pacheco also singled, and an RBI single drove in the second run. A 2-run homer gave Zulia 2 more runs in the top of the 7th, but Los Tigres held on for the win. Wil Ledezma pitched to one batter for Los Tigres in the 6th inning, and got a fly out.
Tigres del Licey 1, Aguilas Cibaenas 0
2B Anderson Hernandez went 4-for-4 for Los Tigres, and SS Yamaico Navarro went 2-for-3, as Los Tigres needed only one run to beat Los Aguilas. All of those hits were singles, as was the only other hit for Licey. Los Tigres only run came in the top of the 1st, when CF Michael Martinez (Phillies) led off with a single, and Hernandez followed with his first single of the game. Two ground outs brought Martinez in to score the only run of the game. Los Aguilas were held to just 2 hits, and neither RF Brandon Moss nor 2B Pedro Ciriaco had a hit.
Melbourne Aces 4, Adelaide Bite 2 (Game 1)
The Bite out-hit the Aces 7-4, but two of the Aces hits were homers, and that was all they needed. After 4 scoreless innings, the Aces got onto the scoreboard in the 5th with a run on a double, a bunt, and a sacrifice fly. The Bite tied the score in the top of the 6th, with two singles and a throwing error on a pick-off attempt. In the bottom of that inning, the lead-off batter walked, and two homers gave the Aces a 4-1 lead. The Bite added a run in the 8th on a double, a ground out, and another sacrifice fly. 1B Calvin Anderson was 0-for-4 at the plate and was hit by a pitch. 3B Stefan Welch was 0-for-4 with a walk, and he also made a throwing error.
Bite 4, Aces 4 (Game 2 — suspended)
They got into the top of the 11th in the second game, before rain halted play. The Bite took a page out of the Aces’ playbook, and scored 4 runs in the 3rd inning on a pair of 2-run homers, the second by Stefan Welch. The Aces chipped away at that lead, scoring one run in four of their next five at-bats of Bite starter Paul Mildren. Mildren surrendered 10 hits over 6.2 innings, while striking out 7 batters. He’ll get a no-decision, no matter how the game ends. The 4-4 tie continued on, as both sides went down in order in the 9th and the 10th. A ground out began the top of the 11th, and then the rain got too heavy to continue.
Canberra Cavalry 11, Sydney Blue Sox 6 (Game 1)
The Cavalry were off and running, scoring 6 runs over the first three innings, and posting a total of 15 hits. They began with a 3-run homer in the 1st, and scored two runs in the 2nd on a bases-loaded throwing error. A walk and a single produced a run in the 3rd. 1B Travis Scott brought in a run in the 6th with a sacrifice fly, and another run scored on an RBI single. Scott walked to lead off the 8th, then advanced to third base on a fielding error that probably should have been a double play. He scored on an RBI single, and two more runs came in on another single.
Cavalry 10, Blue Sox 9 (Game 2)
The Cavalry’s bats were still booming in the second game (17 hits), though the Blue Sox got going too (12 hits). Sydney began the game with a grand slam in the top of the 1st, added a run with a triple in the 2nd, and scored 3 in the top of the 4th. But the Cavalry kept on the slow-and-steady track, scoring at least one run in all but two innings. DH Travis Scott hit the second of two doubles in the 1st inning, scoring 2 runs. Back-to-back solo homers added 2 runs in the 3rd inning. A double and two singles brought in a run in the 4th, cutting the Blue Sox’ lead to 8-5. Three singles plated a run in the 6th. Scott hit the second of four singles in the 7th inning, as 2 runs scored to tie it up at 8-8. The Blue Sox regained the lead in the top of the 8th on a single, two stolen bases, and a sacrifice fly. The Cavalry tied the score again in the bottom of the frame, with two walks and an RBI single. The Blue Sox went down in order in the top of the 9th. In the bottom of the 9th, a throwing error put a Cavalry runner on third base, and a walk and a stolen base gave Canberra two runners in scoring position. Only the first runner was needed, as a walk-off single into center field plated the runner from third with the winning run.