Archive for the 'Cuba' Category

Cuba and Japan Complete Honkball Itinerary

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

The six teams have been selected for Honkball. It will be played July 13-22 at Pim Mulier Stadium in Haarlem. Haarlem is one of those quiet, pleasant cities that have more bikes on the roads than automobiles. It also has canals, windmills, a town square and a baseball stadium. The stadium is just a couple miles from the town square. Myworld could not pick a better spot to relax in a tranquil setting and then spend your time at the ballpark.

The six teams participating in the tournament are:

Netherlands, Curacao, Italy, Taiwan, Cuba and Japan

After the last Honkball tournament there was some discussion to end the tournament. The crowds are loyal with fans waiting two hours inside the stadium waiting for the second game to be played. When you buy a ticket it is for the day, with the first game scheduled for 2 PM and the evening affair for 7 PM. There is a tented area and a stage for a band, so if the crowd is large enough a band could be made available to entertain those who wait the couple hours inside the stadium for the second game to start.

Despite the decent crowds the organizers were not able to collect enough revenue to continue the tournament. Lack of advertisers and sponsors are the large revenue generators for most tournaments. Another group has stepped in to hold the tournament. Hopefully they will be more successful in continuing the tournament every two years.

United States New Number One

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

With their win in the World Baseball Classic the United States has ended the three year reign of Japan and taken over the number one spot in baseball, according to the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC). With the top 12 teams qualifying for the Premier 12 in 2019 myworld will list the top 13 teams as ranked by the WBSC. Mexico sitting at number five has never been ranked higher.

1. United States (5025 points)
2. Japan (4609 points)
3. South Korea (4158 points)
4. Cuba (3152 points)
5. Mexico (2613 points)
6. Taiwan (2520 points)
7. Canada (2142 points)
8. Australia (2095 points)
9. Netherlands (2002 points)
10. Puerto Rico (1796 points)
11. Venezuela (1765 points)
12. Dominican Republic (1227 points)
13. Nicaragua (1155 points)

You can see the complete list at wbsc.org/rankings/

Puerto Rico and Dominicans to Battle in Series del Caribe Final

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Puerto Rico had a shortened season as they recovered from their hurricane damage, but it was enough to get them to the finals of the Series del Caribe. They will be facing the Dominican Republic.

Puerto Rico 6 Venezuela 5

Anthony Garcia hit his third homerun of the Series del Caribe, a grand slam in the sixth inning to tie the game 4-4. Venezuela would recapture the lead in the seventh on a Tomas Telis RBI single. Puerto Rico took the lead in the eighth, Irving Falu getting the inning started with a single. A ground ball out advanced him to second and a Telis passed ball moved him to third. Jesmuel Valentin singled to tie the game a second time.

With the score tied Valentin stole second. Rather than face Garcia Venezuela chose to intentionally walk him. Cesar Jimenez came on to replace Mayckol Guaipe. Cesar threw a pitch in the dirt, Telis attempted to throw out Valentin going to third, throwing the ball away to allow Valentin to score the go ahead run. Garcia was thrown out trying to advance to third.

Miguel Mejia came on to pitch for Puerto Rico and retired the last six Venezuelans to secure the win.

Coming into the sixth inning David Thompson had retired 15 of the first 16 hitters he faced, giving up only a two out single to Garcia in the fourth inning. In the sixth Falu, Rusney Castillo and Valentin hit consecutive singles to load the bases with one out. Venezuela went with Nestor Molina to face Garcia, who blasted the ball over the left centerfield wall for the grand slam.

Venezuela had the opportunity to put the game away in the fifth when they opened the inning with three singles and a double to score three runs. But they could only get a walk to load the bases and a Tomas Telis pop up failed to drive in a run.

Dominican Republic 7 Cuba 4

Cuba scored early off their Cuban ace of the past Yunesky Maya to take an early 3-0 lead. Lazaro Blanco shut out the Dominicans for the first five innings. The Dominicans finally got to him in the sixth, Junior Lake leading off the inning with a triple. Two outs later it appeared Lake would be stranded at third, but Ronny Rodriguez gave the Dominicans a boost with a two run shot into left center field. A Carlos Paulino walk finished the day for Blanco.

Miguel Lahera was able to get out of the sixth inning without any further damage. In the seventh he coughed up a leadoff single to Yefri Perez and then walked Abiatal Avelino. Raidel Martinez came on to replace Lahera to protect the Cubans 3-2 lead. Gustavo Nunez laid down a bunt but Martinez threw the ball away to allow the tying run to score. An intentional walk to Junior Lake loaded the bases but Edwin Espinal singled to drive in Avelino and Nunez to give the Dominicans a 5-3 lead. Alain Sanchez came on to pitch with the bases loaded and no outs and was able to escape the inning without giving up a run.

The Dominicans were able to pounce again for two in the eighth. A Yefri Perez walk and a steal of second got him to third on a ground out. Gustavo Nunez drove him in with a single. Nunez got into scoring position by stealing second and scored on a Junior Lake single to up the Dominican lead to 7-3.

Frederich Cepeda was the big bat for Cuba. He hit a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the eighth to narrow the score to 7-4. He also hit a two run triple in the second and made it a Little League homerun by scoring on a wild throw by Dominican right fielder Ronny Rodriguez. After the Cepeda homer in the eighth the Cubans did not have enough life in their bats to mount a three run comeback. Despaigne made the final out to finish off an 0 for 4 performance. He failed to get a hit in the series.

With Maya sent to the showers early in the second the Dominicans had to rely on their bullpen to protect the lead. Other than the Cepeda homer in the eighth they shut out the Cubans on six hits for the last 7.2 innings.

Cuba Win Pool Play in Series del Caribe

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

There were some meaningless games in the Series del Caribe. Mexico won their first game but it did not help them make the playoffs. Cuba also won to give them the best record in pool play, but that only gave them a date with the Dominican Republic in the first round of the playoffs. The Dominicans gave Cuba their only loss.

Cuba 6 Puerto Rico 3

Raul Gonzalez broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI double in the seventh inning to give Cuba the victory and the honor of winning pool play. Guillermo Aviles clinched it in the eighth with a two run single to up the spread by three. Leandro Martinez shut out the Puerto Rican bats for the last four innings to preserve the win.

All of Puerto Rico’s runs were scored on solo shots, the last one in the fifth inning by Cuban native Dayron Varona. Anthony Garcia hit his second homerun of the series in the first inning and Ruben Gotay slugged one in the fifth inning, the beginning of back to backs with Varona that tied the score at 3-3.

Frank Morejon hit a solo shot for Cuba in the third inning to score their first run. He also added an RBI double in the fifth and scored three of the six Cuban runs.

Mexico 8 Dominican Republic 1

Mexico got their first win but it did not help them advance in the playoffs since it was a foregone conclusion entering the game they were out of it. Mexico broke the game open in the sixth inning with four runs, two of them driven in on a homerun by Justin Greene. Japhet Amador added a solo shot in the seventh.

Sergio Mitre worked six innings to get the win for Mexico.

Mexico Gets Eliminated Early from Series del Caribe

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Wins by the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico gave every team two wins in pool play with the exception of host Mexico, who had yet to capture a win. With only one game left for Mexico they will be the team eliminated from the final four.

Puerto Rico 12 Venezuela 7

Puerto Rico clinched a spot in the final four with their bats coming alive early. David Vidal hit a three run homerun in a four run first and Rusney Castillo hit a two run homer in a four run second and Puerto Rico had sprinted to an early 8-0 lead. David Vidal drove in his fourth run of the game in the second inning with an RBI single.

In the eighth Puerto Rico had back to back homers from Jesmuel Valentin and Anthony Garcia to continue the homer barrage. Puerto Rico finished the day with 16 hits, Anthony Garcia and Jonathan Morales leading the charge with three hits each. Garcia scored three runs.

Carlos Teller got the start for Venezuela and could not get out of the second inning. The Nicaraguan hurler was charged with 8 runs. Fernando Cruz got credit for the win pitching 2.2 innings of shutout relief. David Richardson could not last past the third inning for Puerto Rico.

Venezuela was able to accumulate 13 hits but coming back from an 8-0 deficit proved to be too much. Luis Domoromo led the charge with three hits allowing him to score three runs. He is hitting .750 for the series.

Dominican Republic 7 Cuba 1

Dominican Republic sent Cuba down to their first defeat. The win also qualified them for the final four playoffs. Bryan Evans quieted the Cuban bats to just one run for seven innings, that being a Roel Santos homerun in the sixth inning. Santos was the only bat working for Cuba, stringing together three of their seven hits.

Junior Lake was responsible for the first three runs scored by the Dominican Republic. His two out walk in the first inning was followed by a stolen base. Edwin Espinal drove him in with a double. In the fifth inning Abiatal Avelino led the inning off with a double. Junior Lake corked a two run homer into centerfield for a 3-0 Dominican lead.

Dominican Republic broke the game open in the seventh. Edwin Espinal drove in the first run with an RBI single, his second RBI of the game. Ronny Rodriguez also drove in a run with a single and Luis Valenzuela drove in two with a triple.

Cuba started Vladimir Banos but only let him work three innings, giving up one run on four hits and two walks. Alfredo Despaigne did make a pinch hitting appearance in the game which could mean he could be healthy for the playoffs. Cuba has to be careful with him since Japan and the Softbank Hawks have him under contract.

On the last day of pool play Mexico plays the Dominican Republic and Cuba battles against Puerto Rico, but the four playoff teams have already been decided.

Cuba Starts Off Strong in Series del Caribe

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Myworld was in Greensboro, North Carolina over the weekend coaching in a volleyball tournament so we missed the first weekend of the Series del Caribe. Below is a summary of the first weekend of activities.

Cuba 6 Venezuela 4

The first day saw Cuba knock off Venezuela in the opener. Yurisbel Gracial drove in three runs, including an RBI double in the first inning to drive in the second run of the game. Roel Santos got the inning started with a single and advanced to third after centerfielder Rafael Ortega committed an error. Yordan Manduley drove him in with a single.

Venezuela tied it with a run in the third. Back to back singles by Luis Sardinas and Rafael Ortega put runners on first and third with no out. Cuba stunted the rally turning a double play but it allowed the first run to score. In the fourth Luis Jimenez went deep with a solo shot to tie the game.

Gracial got the lead back for Cuba in the bottom of the fifth with a sacrifice fly. He scored Raul Gonzalez, who had started the inning with a single. Santos bunted him to second and Manduley advanced him to third with a single.

Cuba extended the lead to 5-2 with a two out rally. Santos started the inning with a walk, then stole second. Manduley walked and Gracial drove in his third run of the game with a single. Alexander Ayala drove in the second run with a single, pinch hitting for batting title winner Jorge Yhonson who had replaced the injured Alfredo Despaigne in left field.

Trailing 6-4 in the top of the ninth Venezuela loaded the bases. Luis Jimenez came to the plate with reliever Raidel Martinez having no place to put him. Martinez struck out Jimenez to end the inning and give Cuba the victory. The win may prove costly as Alfredo Despaigne had to leave the game with a pulled calf muscle.

Puerto Rico 7 Mexico 4

Puerto Rico got off to a good start despite an abbreviated season with a 7-4 win over Mexico. Both teams were tied at 4-4 entering the 8th but Puerto Rico scored three in the inning to put the game away. Anthony Garcia led off the inning with a double and David Vidal scored the go ahead run with a double. A wild pitch scored the second run and Dayron Varona sent one to the fence in center field for an RBI triple to extend the lead to 7-4.

In the bottom frame Mexico put runners on second and third with two out but Walter Ibarra struck out to end the inning. Miguel Mejia replaced Robby Rowland on the mound for the ninth inning, giving up only a one out single to Rico Noel, but retiring the other three hitters to earn the save and give the victory to Puerto Rico.

Venezuela 15 Dominican Republic 4

Venezuela battered Dominican pitching for 20 hits to rout the Dominican Republic. Recent National signing Balbino Fuenmayor went 5 for 5 with two homeruns a double and two singles. He drove in five runs and scored three times. Balbino got the scoring started in the second inning with a solo shot. In the third inning he made it 3-0 with a two run blast. Fuenmayor hit a two run double in the fifth just after the Dominicans scored three in the top frame to trim the lead to 4-3.

In the sixth inning after the first two hitters were retired by the Dominicans Rafael Ortega hit a two run homer and Rene Reyes also hit a two run homer to give Venezuela a commanding 10-4 lead. They scored five more in the 8th, Willains Astudillo and Alexi Amarista each contributing two run doubles to fuel the inning.

Raul Valdes got the start for the Dominican Republic and gave up four runs in four innings of work. The bullpen let the game get away allowing 9 runs in the last three innings Venezuela hit. Freddy Garcia started for Venezuela but was one out shy of getting the victory, allowing three runs.

Cuba 5 Mexico 4

Cuba sent Mexico down to their second loss, while they moved to 2-0 on Saturday. Cuba rallied to score three runs in their last two at bats to pull out the win. Raul Gonzalez led off the bottom of the 7th with a solo homerun. Frederich Cepeda tied the game later in the inning when he hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. In the 8th Raul Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to score Yoelqui Cespedes with the go ahead run.

Raidel Martinez came on to pitch the ninth and retired Mexico in order to send the Mexican faithful back home disappointed. Alain Sanchez went five innings in relief, allowing just one run to get the victory. He came on in relief of Cuban ace Yoennis Yera, who was not sharp, giving up seven hits and walking three to allow Mexico to score three of their runs.

Dominican Republic 6 Puerto Rico 3

The Dominicans scored five runs in the first two innings to bounce back from their Venezuelan loss in the opener. Edwin Espinal drove in the first two runs in the first inning with a two run single. Francisley Bueno pitched five innings of shutout ball to get the win.

The Dominican bullpen almost choked the game in the sixth with Samuel Deduno failing to retire any of the three hitters he faced. All of them scored to make the game close. Josh Judy was able to retire all three hitters he faced in the ninth to pull out the save for Dominican Republic for their first win.

Giovanni Soto gave up five of the six runs for Puerto Rico, failing to survive the second inning. He failed to retire the first three hitters he faced in the second inning and was pulled.

Venezuela 6 Mexico 4

The Venezuelan bats stayed hot, accumulating 14 hits in their second victory of the Series del Caribe. Willians Astudillo and Luis Domoromo led the charge with three hits apiece. Luis was a perfect 3 for 3 on the day with one walk. Rafael Ortega led the game off with a homerun, his second of the series for Venezuela. Astudillo hit a solo shot in the sixth to break a 2-2 tie giving Mexico a lead they would not relinquish.

Chris Roberson hit a pinch hit two run homer in the 9th to put Mexico within two runs of a victory. A Fernando Perez single brought up pinch hitter Japhet Amador to represent the tying run. Venezuela went to Victor Capellan on the mound. An error by third baseman Niuman Romero put runners on first and third with one out. Walter Ibarra came to the plate representing the go ahead run. Capellan coaxed him into grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.

After the first three days Cuba is the only undefeated team at 2-0. Mexico at 0-3 is close to being eliminated from the Series del Caribe they are hosting. They need a victory over the Dominican Republic in their final game of pool play just to survive. Venezuela is assured of advancing with their 2-1 record and Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico sit at 1-1, both needing one more win to clinch an advance.

Granma Repeats as Cuban Champions

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

Daniel Castro hit a walk off grand slam homerun to give Las Tunas a 6-2 win in game six to send the Cuban championship to a final game seven. Jose Garcia pitched two innings of shutout relief to get the win. Vladimir Banos pitched a solid seven innings for Las Tunas, allowing just one earned run.

A walk to Raul Gonzalez, a sacrifice bunt and a two base throwing error by Las Tunas catcher Yosvany Alarcon allowed Granma to score the first run in the third inning without benefit of a hit. Granma got their first hit off Banos in the fourth inning. In the sixth Granma scored their second run on a single by Roel Santos, a stolen base and a ground out and sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

In the bottom of the sixth Las Tunas strung together four hits to score two runs and tie the score. Alexander Ayala and Yordanis Alarcon each drove in a run to tie the game at 2-2.

Granma hung on to win game seven 3-2. Alain Sanchez lasted for eight innings and a couple batters into the ninth to be relieved by Raidel Martinez. Raidel gave up three hits allowing two runs to score but still salvaged the win.

Carlos Benitez drove in the first run in the opening frame with a single. Alfredo Despaigne had walked ahead of him and Carlos took advantage of that lack of respect. In the fifth singles by Yoelkis Cespedes and Roel Santos put two runners on. A wild pitch advanced them to second and third where Cespedes scored on a fly ball from Yordan Mandulay.

Alfredo Despaigne showed some life doubling to lead off the sixth. Las Tunas pitchers have spent a lot of time walking him. He scored on a Raul Gonzalez sacrifice fly to give Granma a 3-0 lead.

Granma will now represent Cuba in the Series del Caribe that will be played in Jalisco, Mexico. Their back to back championships followed the back to back championships of Ciego de Avila. Las Tunas was denied their first ever Cuban championship.

Granma One Win Away from Cuban Championship

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Raul Gonzalez slugged two homeruns to lead Granma to an 11-5 win, their third straight victory, all of them at home to give them a 3-2 series lead. Gonzalez biggest shot was a grand slam homerun he hit in the seven run third inning that gave Granma an insurmountable 8-1 lead. Gonzalez also led off the fifth inning with a homerun. He finished the day 4 for 4 with five RBIs and two runs scored.

Yordanis Alarcon was a perfect 4 for 4 for Las Tunas. He delivered RBI singles in the second and sixth innings. Las Tunas rallied for four in the sixth to chase starter Ulfrido Garcia. Yordany Manduley socked a two run homerun in the eighth for Granma to stunt any hope of a Las Tunas comeback.

The teams now go back to Las Tunas for the last two games. In the first five games the home team have won all the games.

Granma Evens Cuban Series

Friday, January 26th, 2018

The home team continues to hold serve with the 4-2 Granma win over Las Tunas to even the series at two games apiece. Granma rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth off Las Tunas closer Jose Garcia to erase a 2-1 deficit. Roel Santos got the inning started with his third hit of the night to lead off the inning, advancing to second on an error. Garcia came on to relieve starter Luis Gomez. Yordan Manduley singled to drive in Jose Garcia, advancing to second on an error. After a strikeout, Alfredo Despaigne was walked intentionally. Carlos Benitez made them pay lining a single to right field, with a third error in the inning allowing two runs to score, giving Granma a 4-2 lead.

Lazaro Blanco worked two outs into the seventh inning for Granma, scattering nine hits. He gave up three hits to leadoff hitter Yuniesky Larduet. Both leadoff hitters Larduet and Roel Santos went 3 for 3 to lead their offenses. Larduet hit the first of his two doubles in the top of the third and scored on a Jorge Yhonson single to give Las Tunas a 1-0 lead. Granma battled back in the bottom of the third after a Roel Santos leadoff triple. He scored on a Yordan Manduley ground out.

Rafael Vinales gave Las Tunas a brief lead in the seventh with his leadoff single. He advanced to third on a sacrifice and ground out and scored on a wild pitch to give Las Tunas a 2-1 lead. That lasted until the eighth when Granma took advantage of three Las Tunas errors to score three runs.

With the go ahead run at the plate in the top of the ninth Raidel Martinez came on in relief and got a punch out to end the game and even the series. The next game will be the last in Granma. After this game the teams go to Las Tunas for the final two games.

Granma Bats Explode in Win

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Granma got their first win in the best of seven series against Las Tunas. Raul Gonzalez slugged a three run homer to close out a six run first inning to lead Granma to a 10-6 win. Las Tunas starter Vladimir Banos could retire just one of the seven hitters he faced, getting tagged for all six runs on five hits and a walk. The one hitter he retired was Alfredo Despaigne, but he got credit for a sacrifice fly and an RBI.

The two teams combined for 30 hits in the game. Granma had 11 of their 17 hits by the third inning, extending their lead to 9-2. Las Tunas did go deep three times, Rafael Vinales hitting a two run shot in the fourth, the second straight day in which he has gone deep. Daniel Castro hit a solo shot in the seventh and Yordanis Alarcon contributed a solo blast in the eighth.

Alain Sanchez pitched 6.2 innings for Granma allowing two homeruns and five total runs. He was replaced with two outs in the seventh by Raidel Martinez, who retired the last hitter and then worked two additional innings to preserve the victory. Las Tunas is still up two games to one with two more games at Granma.