Legends On Deck

Caribbean Series: Final Four Teams Set


There wasn’t much of a surprise as to which four of the five teams would reach Saturday’s final four, especially with Puerto Rico losing their first three games, but Friday’s games were more for seeding purposes.

In the early game, Venezuela played Mexico with first place on the line, but Venezuela’s timely hitting and strong pitching secured a 4-2 victory and a perfect 4-0 record.

Mexico jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and added another run in the top of the sixth, all the while keeping Venezuela scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning. Venezuala’s bats finally got going by pushing two runs across the plate tying up the game at 2-2. In the bottom of the eighth they scored two more runs to take a 4-2 lead and in the top of the ninth, Hassan Pena threw a perfect inning to seal the victory.

Venezuela had just six hits, highlighted by Oswaldo Arcia, who finished 1 for 3, with a run scored, a home run and two RBI’s. On the mound starter Junior Guerra, tossed five innings, allowed one unearned run on three hits, walking three and striking out seven. Mexico also only managed six hits with former major leaguer Russell Branyan leading the way finishing 2 for 4. Mexico’s pitchers struggled with starter Salvador Valdez throwing five innings, allowing two runs on three hits and walking four batters.

In the night cap, Puerto Rico finally found themselves in the win column by squeezing by with a nail bitter, 3-2 over the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico scored first in the bottom of the third to take a 1-0 lead. Team DR would strike back for a run of their own in the top in the fifth with Puerto Rico grabbing the lead back with a run in the bottom of the frame. The game would stay scoreless until the top of the ninth when Team DR scored a run to knot the game at 2-2. But no team would deny Puerto Rico a win in the series as they scored in the bottom of the ninth to add a win in their final game of the tournament.

Team Puerto Rico had eight hits with two apiece to A.J. Jimenez, 2 for 3, and Luis Figueroa, 2 for 3, with a double. And on the mound, Jorge Martinez, had a great game, tossing 6.1 innings, allowing one run on one hit, walking two and striking out seven. For the Dominican Republic team, they only had three hits led by Phillies top prospect, Maikel Franco, who finished 2 for 4, with a home run and two RBI’s. Team DR’s starter, Marlon Arias, threw five innings, allowing two runs on six hits, walking one and striking out three.

Next up:

Saturday’s Final Four will consist of Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Cuba and top team Venezuela.  Mexico (2-2) and Team DR (2-2) will face off at 12:05 PM with Cuba (1-3) and Venezuela (4-0) at 6:30 PM.  The winners will play each other on Sunday for the championship.

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