Puerto Rico and Dominicans to Battle in Series del Caribe Final

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.

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