Caribbean Series: Cuba Shocks Venezuela To Reach Finals
Cuba will face defending champ Mexico.
After winning all four games in the round robin part of the tournament, Venezuela was all but assured a trip to the Series Final on Sunday as long as they won on Saturday, but Cuba had other ideas. Going into Saturday’s semi-final match-up, Cuba had only won one game of the four they played during the week, but they caught fire at the right time.
Venezuela took a 4-0 lead with one in the third and three in the fourth, while keeping Cuba scoreless. But in the top of the sixth inning, Cuba struck back with three runs and then added a five spot in the top of the seventh. Venezuela could not manage another run after the fourth and bowed down to Cuba and any chance to win the Championship.
Cuba managed 12 hits in the game led by Frederich Cepeda, who finished 4 for 5, with two doubles, a triple and five RBI’s. On the mound Norge Ruiz kept Cuba in the game by tossing 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out two. As for Venezuela, they had 10 hits and were led by Jose Castillo, who went 3 for 4. But the pitching was the story as four pitchers gave up a combined seven earned runs to hand Cuba the 8-4 victory.
In the early game, Mexico went up against the Dominican Republic and with both teams finishing the round-robin portion 2-2, they each were looking for an opportunity to represent their country in the final. The defending champ Mexico took a commanding 5-0 lead as they scored three in the top of the second inning, one in the third, and one in the sixth. But Team DR battled back with two in the sixth, one in the eighth and one in the ninth but came up a run short as they would lose 5-4.
Mexico used a balance hitting attack led by Jose Manuel Rodriguez, who finished 3 for 4, with two runs scored. Starter Terance Marin won his second game of the series by tossing six innings, allowing two unearned runs on five hits, walking one and striking out three.
Team DR also had nine hits led by Maikel Franco who went 2 for 4 with a double. On the mound starter Elih Villanueva, lasted only 2.2 innings, as he allowed four runs (one earned), on six hits and one strike out.
Mexico (3-2) will look for a repeat and Cuba (2-3) will look for their first Caribbean Series Championship since 1960 when they face off on Sunday at 4:30 PM.