Looking in on Pirates’ players and friends in Saturday’s winter league playoff games:
Leones del Escogido 5, Aguilas Cibaenas 2
Los Leones again took the lead in this best-of-9 series, with this win over Los Aguilas. Los Leones now lead 4 games to 3, and need one more win to take the championship. Los Aguilas were first onto the scoreboard with 2 runs in the top of the 1st. After a single and a balk, a fielding error allowed the first run to score, and an RBI single drove in the second run. Los Aguilas put runners on base in several other innings, including a single by RF Brandon Moss in the 3rd, but could not push any more runs across. Los Leones scored one run in the 2nd inning and tied the score with another run in the bottom of the 3rd. They added 2 runs in the 5th and one more in the 8th for insurance. 2B/SS Pedro Ciriaco went 0-for-3 for Los Aguilas.
Tigres de Aragua 7, Tiburones de La Guaira 1
Los Tigres also took the lead in their series, 3 games to 2 over Los Tiburones in this best-of-7 game series. 1B Hector Gimenez gave Los Tigres 4 RBI with a single and a double, as Aragua posted 16 hits. Four consecutive singles, including one by Gimenez, gave Los Tigres 2 runs in the top of the 1st. Los Tiburones got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 2nd on a triple and a single, but that was all the runs they would score. Los Tigres added a run with a solo homer in the 3rd, then scored 4 runs in the 7th. CF Jonel Pacheco led off that inning by reaching base on a fielding error. He was out at second on a force out, but a single and a walk loaded the bases, and Gimenez’s double brought in 3 runs. A triple plated Gimenez for the final run. Wil Ledezma pitched the 6th inning for Los Tigres, and allowed a lone single in that frame. He also began the 7th, and allowed a single after two outs, then was relieved.
Sydney Blue Sox 10, Adelaide Bite 4 (Game 1)
The Bite thought they had averted a disaster on Saturday — the game was halted in the 3rd inning, with the Blue Sox already ahead by 8 runs. Besides halting the game due to rain, the storm knocked out power at the stadium. League rules state that in that kind of circumstance, the game is not resumed, but instead declared a “No Game” — and those 8 runs wiped away. The two teams started over in Game 1, with the Bite scoring first, on a solo homer by CF Denny Almonte (Mariners) in the 2nd. But the Bite disintegrated in the 3rd, committing four errors to surrender 3 runs: a throwing error by 3B Stefan Welch, a missed catch error by 1B Calvin Anderson, and throwing errors by the pitcher and the catcher, plus a run forced in with two walks. Another error by Welch in the top of the 5th set up the Blue Sox to score one run in that inning. Sydney committed only one error, which helped the Bite score one run in the bottom of the 5th, bringing the score to 4-2. The two teams traded homers in the 7th, though the Blue Sox’ homer was for 3 runs, while the Bite had a solo homer. The same thing happened in the 9th — a 3-run homer for the Blue Sox, and a second solo homer for Almonte. Anderson went 1-for-4 with a single in the 4th; Welch went 0-for-4 at the plate.
Blue Sox 1, Bite 0 (Game 2)
3B Stefan Welch had 2 hits in the second game, but the Bite could not score, and the shutout eliminated them from the playoffs. Sydney won this best-of-5 series in four games. The Blue Sox scored the only run of the game int he 4th, on a double, a fly out, and a fielder’s choice. The Bite came closest to scoring in the 7th, when they loaded the bases with two singles and a walk, but a strike out and a ground out left all three runners on base. Welch, who had doubled in the 4th, singled in the 9th and reached as far as third base on an error and a ground out, but was left there when the game ended.
The Perth Heat also won their best-of-5 series against the Melbourne Aces with a 3-1 win. A 2-RBI single in the bottom of the 8th gave the Heat their win.
The Melbourne Aces now play a series against the Blue Sox, beginning on Feb 2nd. The winner of that series will face off against the Heat in the championship series, which begins on Feb 10th.