Santiago de Cuba Clinched Second U-23 Championship

With a strong offense unleashed against Villa Clara’s pitchers Santiago de Cuba became the first double champion of the category  

By: Norland Rosendo

Email: rosendo@juventudrebelde.cu

2017-06-05 | 14:43:48 EST

In a very extensive game about 270 minutes, with a bit of everything, Santiago de Cuba clinched its second U-23 championship after having kept a steady pace as the best team throughout the tournament.

 

Since the first game the team made clear its intention of retaining the title. Manager Eriberto Rosales counted on many of the players who won the 2016 title. The team’s greatest asset was offense, with hitters able to come from behind with a swing, with men who will make history in the Cuban baseball like: Oscar Luis Colás; Lionard Kindelán, homerun leader with 13 and 54 RBIs; Yoelquis Guibert, Sergio Barthelemy, Dasiel Sevila, Luis Veranes, Yery Martínez...They also featured lefty pitcher Ulfrido García, who is already a member of the Cuban team, and other pitchers who will shore up the recovery of the Avispas in the next national baseball series.

 

This was the only team, whose qualification to the playoffs was never in danger. When Colás went to Japan on a contract and Ulfrido was pre-selected to the national team alongside Guibert, the team rose to the challenge and avoided a drop in its game.

 

Although the best team won, Villa Clara also deserves recognition, since it was the first time this team qualified for the finals. Villa Clara’s pitcher failed to put a curb on the Santiago de Cuba’s offense.

 

Now let us flash back on the last game:

 

Santiago’s hitters made the necessary adjustments in the batter’s box to hit Javier Mirabal’s outside pitches. The first of two homeruns by Kindelán triggered the substitution of Villa Clara’s best winning card in the fifth inning.

All the nine Santiago’s starting players at bat had hits for the winners, with Kindelán leading the attack: three hits, two of them homeruns and seven RBIs.

Rosales sent the best relief pitchers to the mound (José Carlos Barbosa and Florencio Maletá) as if there was no tomorrow.

Villa Clara came from behind and tied the game, but they came up short.

Without command Villa Clara’s pitchers added fuel to the flames. With two walks Eddy Howard Díaz threw the game off balance opening the home plate for the rival team and allowing Kindelán’s at bat with runners on board.

Villa Clara’s first baseman failed to catch a foul fly giving Kindelán a second chance. This time a blooper became a two-run single for Santiago de Cuba.

Like in the semi-final game Digney Arévalo was unable to stay on the mound beyond the fifth inning. He had to leave the game with no outs.

The fourth U-23 championship came to an end. The two first tournaments were won by Artemisa and Habana; the last two were won by Santiago de Cuba. Some changes are on the pipeline for the fifth tournament. A much needed championship like this has to be improved. Baseball and the fans will be thankful.

Translated by ESTI        

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