Caribbean Series: Cuba Wins First Title Since 1960
Cuba holds on to defeat Mexico 3-2.
The last time that Cuba won the Caribbean Series Title was in 1960; actually they won the first ever Series Final in 1949 when the game was help in Havana. In the next 11 years, Cuba was the dominate team winning seven championships, including five in a row from 1956 to 1960. So here they are 55 years later finally taking the title back to where it all started.
Cuba started the series on a down note as they dropped their first two games to Mexico 2-1 and the Dominican Republic 6-1. But they rebounded the next night and beat host Puerto Rico 3-2. On Thursday they were defeated by Venezuela 6-2, but rebounded from that loss and shocked Venezuela in Saturday’s semi final 8-4.
Going into Sunday’s final, Cuba’s opponent Mexico, was looking to be the first team to win three straight championships since the Dominican Republic did it from 1997-1999. Actually Mexico has won the series three out of the last four series dating back to 2011. So winning in 2015 would have been another milestone to add to their legacy in the tournament.
Cuba started out quickly by taking a 2-0 lead after two innings, but Mexico got one back when they scored in the bottom of the fifth inning. Cuba tacked on a run in the top of the eighth with Mexico adding another run in the bottom of the frame, but that is the closet they would get. Cuba’s closer Hector Mendoza, came in with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and worked himself out of a jam. Mendoza would then pitch a perfect ninth to seal the deal for Cuba and earn a save.
Cuba banged out 11 hits with four players adding two hits apiece led by Yulieski Gourriel, who finished 2 for 4, with two runs scored, a home run and an RBI. On the mound Cuba’s starter Yosvani Torres won the game by allowing just one run on two hits, and strike out five in six innings.
Mexico only managed four hits and starter Anthony Vasquez was tagged with the loss after tossing five innings and allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out one batter.
Cuba’s Frederich Cepeda was chosen the tournament MVP as he batted 8 for 17 (.470) in the series and 6 for 9 with six RBI’s in his last two games.
It is the eighth time that Cuba has taken the title which ironically ties Mexico for third on the all-time list.