Sunday, February 09, 2014

Winter Leagues: Los Naranjeros Defeat Indios; Mexico Captures Second Straight Caribbean Title

Caribbean Series Final
Indios (P.R.)             1
Naranjeros (MEX)    7

Representing Mexico, the Naranjeros baseball club from Hermosillo, captured the nation's second straight Caribbean championship.  This was Mexico's third title in the last four years, and the eighth time a team from Mexico captured the Caribbean flag since they began participating in 1970.

Caribbean Champions
1976 & 2014

The representatives from Puerto Rico failed in their bid to capture the island's fifteenth Caribbean title, as los Indios de Mayaguez were undone by Mexico's sixth inning, six run outburst during Saturday night's final.

Joel Piniero climbed the hill for Mayaguez, and was opposed by Juan Delgadillo for los Naranjeros.  The two dueled through a scoreless tie through the first five innings, but Piniero's night ended there with a no-decision.  He threw 66 pitches, with 47 going for strikes, for a 71% rate of effectiveness.  He only allowed three hits, walked one, and struck out three before yielding to the bullpen.

Juan Delgadillo went back out for the sixth, and held los Indios scoreless yet again.  In the bottom of the frame, his efforts were finally rewarded.  With Kanekoa Texeira pitching in relief of Piniero, Naranjero's lead-off batter, and center fielder, Chris Roberson, greeted the Mayaguez reliever, and broke up the stalemate with a home run to right.  After surrendering a one out single and a walk, Texeira was removed in favor of Nelvin Fuentes.  First baseman Daryle Ward then promptly singled to drive in the Naranjero's second run.  A base hit by right fielder Luis Fonseca to load the bases, and a pitching change later, catcher Sabastian Valle stepped in against reliever Saul Rivera, and delivered the knock out blow- a grand slam home run over the left-center field wall.

Hermosillo scored one more time in the eighth, on a bases loaded single by shortstop Gil Velasquez.

Starting pitcher Juan Delgadillo completed seven full innings of scoreless baseball.  He allowed four hits, walked none, and struck out five batters before exiting on the winning side.  He threw 98 pitches, 70 for strikes, for a 71% rate of effectiveness.

Puerto Rico managed to ruin the shutout with one run in the ninth, but no much else.  Naranjero pitching limited them to five hits for the game.  Los Indios wound up 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. Kanekoa Texeira was credited with the loss in relief.

Saturday's final game was played under clear skies, and 86 degrees, on la Isla de Margarita off Venezuela.
A crowd of 13,291 filled Estadio Guatamare de Porlamar for Saturday's championship.  Next year's Caribbean Series will be hosted by Puerto Rico.  Despite making their first appearance in 53 years, Cuba's participation in next year's tournament is still uncertain.

The Naranjeros de Hermosillo compiled a 42-25 record during their Mexican Pacific League regular season, clinching first place by a 4.5 game margin over second place Aguilas de Mexicali.  Hermosillo defeated the Mayos de Navojoa to win their league championship.  The Naranjeros then defeated the Domincan Republic's Tigres de Licey in the semi-finals to advance into the championship game against Puerto Rico.


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