A few winter league games on Thursday night, plus the Australians in the early morning:
Aguilas Cibaenas 5, Tigres del Licey 4
Los Aguilas took the win, and so took second place in the Dominican League’s round-robin portion of the playoffs. They will face off against the first-place Leones del Escogido in the championship round. Los Aguilas took the early lead in this game, with a walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly. RF Brandon Moss also singled in the 1st. Two singles started the 3rd inning for Los Aguilas, and Moss moved both runners into scoring position with a grounder to first. The lead runner scored on a throwing error, and a double drove in the second run of the inning, to give Los Aguilas a 3-0 lead. Licey tied the score in the top of the 4th. 2B Anderson Hernandez led off with a single, and scored on a triple. DH Ronny Paulino’s 2-run homer tied the game. 3B Yamaico Navarro followed the homer with a walk, but he was out at third on a fielder’s choice. Los Aguilas came right back with 2 runs in the bottom of the frame. A walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly broke the tie, then an insurance run scored on two throwing errors (on a single stolen base play). Los Aguilas needed that insurance run, because Paulino homered again in the 6th inning, but they shut down Los Tigres after that inning, and held on for the win.
Caribes de Anzoategui 8, Aguilas de Zulia 1
A 6-run 7th inning gave Los Caribes the win, holding Los Aguilas to their 2 lonely wins. With just two more days remaining in the Venezuelan League’s round-robin portion of the playoffs, Cesar Valdez made the start for Los Aguilas, and suffered his third playoff loss. He pitched 5.2 innings, surrendering 2 runs on 7 hits. The first 5 of those hits were scattered over Valdez’s first 4 innings, but he kept the runners from scoring. But the 5th inning began with a double, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single by CF Gorkys Hernandez. Hernandez stole second base, then scored on a throwing error. Los Aguilas got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 5th with a solo homer. Valdez began the top of the 6th, with a walk and two outs, and he was relieved. That inning ended without a run scoring. Then Los Caribes put the game away in the 7th. Two walks (one to Hernandez), a double play, then another walk and a hit batter loaded the bases without a hit. Another hit batter forced in a run, and the 4th walk of the inning forced in the second run. A pair of doubles drove in two runs each, to give Los Caribes the 8-1 lead, and eventually the win.
Navegantes del Magallanes 5, Tigres de Aragua 4
Los Tigres’ loss lets Los Caribes rise to just a half-game behind Aragua in the round-robin playoff standings, taking the suspense down to the wire. Los Magallanes scored one in the 1st, followed by a 2-run homer in the 2nd and a solo homer in the 3rd for a solid lead. Los Tigres took advantage of 2 fielding errors by Los Navegantes (they made a total of 4 errors) to score 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st. A single and a walk began the inning, then 1B Hector Gimenez reached base on a fielding error. Another fielding error on the next batter allowed the first two runners to score. A hit batter loaded the bases for Los Tigres, but one runner was hit by a batted ball, and a strikeout ended the inning without any further runs scoring. Los Navegantes’ error #3 and a double gave Los Tigres another run in the 3rd, bringing the score to 4-3. That score remained until the 8th inning, when Los Magallanes added a run on a solo homer. With reliever Jean Machi on the mound for Los Navegantes in the bottom of the 9th and two outs, a single and an RBI double by Gimenez gave Los Tigres their final run. Machi earned his 3rd playoff Save. Wil Ledezma pitched the 9th inning for Aragua. He gave up a double, and a sacrifice bunt moved that runner to third, but picked him off third and he was out trying to get safely to the plate.
Canberra Cavalry 5, Melbourne Aces 2
A solo homer in the 1st and a 3-run homer by C Travis Scott in the 3rd gave the Cavalry lead they would not give up. They added a run in the 6th, when the lead-off batter singled, moved to 2nd on Scott’s ground out, then scored on an RBI double. The Aces were scoreless until the bottom of the 9th, when a walk and home run gave them their only runs.
Brisbane Bandits 9, Adelaide Bite 4
The Bite posted 13 hits, but left 9 runners on base and committed 4 errors, to hand the win to the Bandits. Paul Mildren made the start for the Bite, and suffered his 3rd loss of the season (4-3 record). Mildren retired the side in order in the 1st, then gave up a solo homer in the 2nd. The Bite countered with their own solo homer in the bottom of the inning to tie the score. The Bandits roared back with 6 runs in the 3rd, aided by a passed ball and a fielding error by 3B Stefan Welch. After the error let the first run score, three singles and a double brought in 4 runs, and the last run of the inning scored on Mildren’s wild pitch. A throwing error in the 4th set up for the Bandits to score another run on a sacrifice fly, and that chased Mildren from the game. Brisbane scored again in the 6th on two singles and an error. 1B Calvin Anderson gave the Bite 2 runs with a homer in the bottom of the 4th, and a single and a double followed the homer, plating the Bite’s final run. Welch went 0-for-5 in the game.