Article by Michel Contreras: Strike 3: Un campeón al borde de la muerte
Translation: Marlys RodríguezFrancisco
Fotos: Ismael Francisco
You don’t have to be a baseball specialist or spend the whole day gathering information to know where this semifinal of the National Series heads to. It doesn’t take you to be a know-it-all about odds to forecast Matanzas will be better than Villa Clara.
The playoffs favor Crocodiles 3×0 and many ensure it’s going to be decided in the Augusto César Sandino Park, without requiring extra games in the Victoria de Girón. In the end, I’d guess this story wouldn’t last more than five pages.
It’s fair to state that the current champions of Cuban baseball had a lot of opportunities to get the win, even when Ismel Jiménez wasn’t as fast as vs. Holguín (he admitted José Miguel Fernández’ homer with one teammate on base, and then allowed Ariel Sánchez’ single with Guillermo Heredia on the 3rd).
However, Villa Clara did not shatter because of that; first they got close thanks to Yorbis Borroto’s solo homerun, and then they came ahead with another four-base hit by Leandro Turiño who brought over home plate three runs.
Once again, the wrong baserunning mutilated the Orangemen’s hopes, especially when Ariel Borrero did not come to home plate after Víctor Víctor’s forced catch, situation that could have made the difference in the game.
From that moment on, Victor Mesa’s players ruled in the match, and managed to guarantee it through Felix Fuentes, certainly the MVP of the semifinal. Indeed, Villa Clara has been lousy in the mental game, and Matanzas deserves qualifying to the great final.
Positive: the handling of Crocodiles’’ pitching. Negative: Yoanni Yera, Matanzas’ first starter, had a second bad outing. Alarming: Villa Clara is on the verge of a new sweep in playoffs. Unbelievable: the attempt of bunting with Yeniet Pérez-again with the 3rd man on the line up-in the 9th inning.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
VS: MTZ 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 5 10 0
HC: VCL 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 4 12 0