2017 Caribbean Series

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The 2017 Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was the forty-seventh edition of the second stage of the Caribbean Series. It was held in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico from February 1-7, 2017. The series featured five teams - from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Criollos de Caguas, representing the Puerto Rican League defeated the Águilas de Mexicali in the finale, for the first win by a Puerto Rican team since 2000.

Final Standings[edit]

Team League G W L WPCT Manager
Criollos de Caguas Puerto Rican League 6 3 3 .500 Luis Matos
Águilas de Mexicali Mexican Pacific League 6 4 2 .667 Roberto Vizcarra
Águilas del Zulia Venezuelan League 5 3 2 .600 Lipso Nava
Alazanes de Granma Cuban Serie Nacional 5 3 2 .600 Carlos Martí
Tigres del Licey Dominican League 4 0 4 .000 Audo Vicente



All-Star Team[edit]


February 1[edit]

Game 1

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Granma 1 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 4 7 0
Licey 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 2
Win: Lázaro Blanco (1-0) Loss: Ivan Pineyro (0-1) Save: Liván Moinelo (1)

Granma started off on a good note as Lázaro Blanco (6 1/3 IP) and Liván Moinelo (2 2/3 IP) team on a shutout, showing Cuba still had some talent despite the slew of defectors in recent years. In the top of the first, CF Roel Santos tripled off Ivan Pineyro and came home one out later on a passed ball by Webster Rivas. Cuba added insurance in the 5th. With one out, 2B Carlos Benítez walked, C Frank Camilo singled and RF Yoelkis Céspedes singled. Edgar García relieved and threw a wild pitch to make it 2-0. Santos then smacked a two-run double for the final runs of the day.

Game 2

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Caguas 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 5 2
Mexicali 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 X 4 10 0
Win: Derrick Loop (1-0) Loss: Fernando Cabrera (0-1) Save: Jake Sanchez (1)

Both veteran starters were excellent; Orlando Román pitched five shutout frames for Caguas and Daniel Rodríguez was even better, allowing one hit and no runs in six. In the top of the 7th, Derrick Loop relieved Rodríguez and served up a two-out homer to 3B David Vidal to put Caguas ahead. In the bottom of the 7th, though, the hosts stormed back against Fernando Cabrera. RF Ronnier Mustelier singled and with one out, C Xorge Carrillo singled. J.C. Romero came in and PH Jesus Castillo grounded in Mustelier. CF Chris Roberson, the 2014 Series MVP, delivered a two-run homer to put Mexico ahead for good. In the top of the 8th, Caguas made it a one-run game when SS Iván DeJesús Jr. took Sergio Romo deep. Mexicali got the game's fourth home run to get an insurance run back in the bottom of the 8th, when SS Yuniesky Betancourt went yard off Hiram Burgos.

February 2[edit]

Game 3

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Zulia 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 0
Caguas 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 9 2
Win: Omar Bencomo (1-0) Loss: Adalberto Flores (0-1) Save: Hassan Peña (1)

Venezuela had a big second inning off Adalberto Flores. RF René Reyes doubled (Venezuela appealed, arguing it was a homer, but the call held) and DH Alex Romero hit into an error by CF Eddie Rosario to make it 1-0. C Jesús Flores then took the other Flores deep for a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, Caguas got their lone run off Omar Bencomo in his five innings of work, thanks to three straight two-out singles, by 3B David Vidal, CF Henry Ramos and SS Iván DeJesús Jr. In the 4th, Zulia made it 4-1 on a double by Jesús Flores, a single by 3B Ronny Cedeño and an error by DeJesús on the single. The Criollos bullpen pitched five shutout innings but it was too little, too late. In the bottom of the 8th, Caguas got closer against Leonel Campos when 1B Rubén Gotay walked and Vidal homered, but the Tigres held them off as Puerto Rico began the tourney with two one-run losses.

Game 4

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mexicali 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 1 0 7 15 2
Licey 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 1
Win: Héctor Velázquez (1-0) Loss: César Valdez (0-1)

In a match-up of pitchers who were MVPs of their league finals this year, Héctor Velázquez of Mexico outdueled Dominican César Valdez. The Eagles got on the board in the top of the first on a single by CF Chris Roberson, a grounder by LF Jason Bourgeois to advance Roberson and a two-out single by 1B C.J. Retherford. In the bottom of the first, 1B Ronny Rodriguez hit into an error by SS Yuniesky Betancourt and scored on a one-out double by LF Zoilo Almonte to tie it. Licey took their first lead of the Series in the bottom of the third. Rodriguez walked, DH Leury García singled him in and CF Mel Rojas Jr. singled with one out. 3B Donovan Solano hit into a double play, though, and the Eagles would only have three hits and no runs the rest of the way.

In the top of the fifth, Mexicali took control. C Xorge Carrillo was plunked by Valdez. With one out, Roberson laid down a bunt and was called out at first but the call was overturned on appeal and he was granted a bunt hit. That proved big when Bourgeois delivered a two-run triple to chase Valdez. In the top of the 7th, Mexico put it away. Bourgeois had another triple, this one off Ramón Ramírez. Betancourt hit into an error by SS Sergio Alcantara for a 4-2 lead and Retherford smacked a two-run homer. In the 8th, they got one last run. 2B Ramón Ríos had a two-out double off Ulises Joaquin. Isaac Rodriguez pinch-ran and came home on a single, Roberson's fourth hit of the day as he continued his career stardom in Caribbean Series play.

February 3[edit]

Game 5

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Caguas 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 1
Granma 0 1 3 0 0 0 2 0 X 6 12 0
Win: Vladimir García (1-0) Loss: Jarret Leverett (0-1)

Granma kept Caguas winless. In the bottom of the second, DH Alfredo Despaigne drew a walk from Jarret Leverett. With one out, LF Dennis Laza hit into a 5-4 force and stole second. 2B Carlos Benítez kept up his clutch hitting from the Cuban finals, with a run-scoring single. In the third, Puerto Rico tied it. C Jonathan Morales and RF Jorge Padilla both singled off Vladimir García and advanced on a bunt by 2B Rey Navarro. A fly from CF Eddie Rosario scored Morales. In the bottom of the inning, Cuba put it away. With one out, 3B Yunior Paumier doubled, SS Alexander Ayala singled, Despaigne singled in Paumier and 1B William Saavedra doubled home Ayala. Frank Del Valle relieved Leverett and hit Laza. Benítez hit a sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead. In the 7th, Cuba got insurance off William Oliver when Despaigne walked and Saavedra went deep for a 3-hit, 3-RBI day.

Game 6

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Zulia 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 2
Mexicali 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 5 8 1
Win: Oliver Pérez (1-0) Loss: Pedro Rodríguez (0-1)

The battle of the Eagles was a close affair. In the top of the third, Zulia got their lone run off Barry Enright. 3B Jonathan Herrera singled, advanced on a grounder by 2B Ali Castillo and came home on a two-out single by 1B Jose Castillo. After Enright left, Mexico got scoreless pitching from Manny Barreda, Derrick Loop and Oliver Pérez. In the bottom of the sixth, Mexicali finally got to Carlos Hernandez. LF Jason Bourgeois singled with one out. With two outs, 1B C.J. Retherford singled to left and Bourgeois sped home from first. It remained 1-1 until the bottom of the 9th. DH Luis Juarez singled to right off reliever Pedro Rodríguez. RF Ronnier Mustelier laid down a bunt butMexicali threw the ball away into center field to put runners on the corners. PH Jesse Castillo coaxed a walk, then C Sebastián Valle became the hero of the day with a grand slam bast to left to excite the home fans.

February 4[edit]

Game 7

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Licey 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 5 2
Caguas 2 0 0 1 3 3 0 1 X 10 11 0
Win: Andrés Santiago (1-0) Loss: Bryan Evans (0-1)

In a match-up of the two winless teams, Caguas steamrolled over Licey. DH Iván DeJesús Jr. (3 H, 3 R, 2 RBI), 3B David Vidal (3 H) and LF Rusney Castillo (2 H, 3 RBI, HR) starred from the 2-4 spots of the batting order while Andrés Santiago picked up the win in relief. Licey tried eight pitchers, six of whom allowed runs.

Game 8

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Granma 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 10 2
Zulia 3 0 0 1 3 0 1 0 X 8 15 0
Win: Wil Ledezma (1-0) Loss: Noelvis Entenza (0-1)

The last unbeaten team fell as Granma was outslugged by Zulia. In the bottom of the first, Cuban starter Freddy Asiel Álvarez did not look at all crisp. SS Freddy Galvis singled, as did 3B Ronny Cedeño and RF René Reyes. 1B Jose Castillo singled and an error on the play by SS Alexander Ayala made it 2-0. After an out, DH Alex Romero singled for a 3-0 edge; Álvarez did not last through the first. In the second, the Alazanes tied it. 1B William Saavedra and DH Guillermo Avilés both singled off Wilfredo Boscan and 2B Carlos Benítez homered to even the game up. In the 4th, against Noelvis Entenza, the Venezuelans pulled ahead for good. With two outs, Galvis singled, stole second and scored on a hit by Cedeño. In the bottom of the 5th, they added insurance. With one out, Romero singled. After a second out, C Francisco Arcia singled. Yoelkis Cruz relieved Entenza but 2B Ali Castillo, the #9 hitter, singled in Romero and Galvis smacked a two-run double to make it 7-3. Cuba had a shot in the top of the 7th, loading the bases with one out but Wil Ledezma fanned both 3B Yunior Paumier and #3 batter Ayala to escape the jam. In the bottom of the inning, against Leandro Martínez, CF Denis Phipps singled and advanced two bases on two grounders. Galvis, who was 3-for-3, then hit into an error by Saavedra for the last run. Cedeño also finished with 3 hits.

February 5[edit]

Game 9

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Licey 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 3 8 0
Zulia 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 X 4 7 2
Win: Tiago Da Silva (1-0) Loss: Juan Grullon (0-1) Save: Francisco Butto (1)

Licey almost got their first win, only to fall short. It marked the tenth straight Caribbean Series game lost by a Dominican team. The Eagles got ahead in the 4th against Raúl Rivero. 1B Ronny Rodriguez singled; with one out, LF Mel Rojas Jr. singled and RF Alfredo Marte singled in Rodriguez; an error on the play by CF Herlis Rodriguez let Rojas score as well. Meanwhile, Ariel Peña had blanked Aragua on one hit in the first four. In the bottom of the 5th, 1B Jose Castillo went deep to make it a one-run game. Licey got back the run in the 6th; Ronny Rodriguez reached on an error by 3B Ronny Cedeño, DH Zoilo Almonte singled to chase Rivero and, with one out, Marte grounded in Rodriguez while facing Yorman Bazardo. It remained 3-1 until the bottom of the 8th when the Venezuelan Eagles came back against the Dominican Tigers. Facing Juan Grullon, Herlis Rodriguez had a one-out single. With two outs, Cedeño doubled him in to make it a one-run contest. RF René Reyes then homered for the winning blow. Licey was thus eliminated.

Game 10

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mexicali 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Granma 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 X 4 11 0
Win: Vladimir Baños (1-0) Loss: Javier Solano (0-1) Save: José Angel García (1)

Vladimir Baños went almost the full way (8 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K) in a shutout, with José Angel García getting the last out as Granma finished the first round on a strong note. Javier Solano escaped a few jams and it was scoreless going into the bottom of the 5th. RF Yoelkis Céspedes singled and CF Roel Santos laid down a bunt hit to open the frame. 3B Yunior Paumier hit into a force at third. After Solano got a second out, his Houdini act came to an end when LF Alfredo Despaigne smashed a three-run dinger. 1B William Saavedra followed with a solo blast, chasing Solano. His bullpen shut out Granma the rest of the way but it was too little, too late.

Standings after Round Robin[edit]

Team Won Lost
Águilas del Zulia 3 1
Águilas de Mexicali 3 1
Alazanes de Granma 3 1
Criollos de Caguas 1 3
Tigres del Licey 0 4

February 6[edit]

Game 11 Semi final

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Caguas 4 0 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 9 11 0
Zulia 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 4 0 6 16 1
Win: Orlando Román (1-0) Loss: Mitch Lively (0-1) Save: Ricardo Gómez (1)

1-3 Caguas stunned 3-1 Zulia in the first semifinal, having gotten their only prior win over last-place Licey. In the top of the first, they lit up Mitch Lively. CF Henry Ramos and DH Iván DeJesús Jr. opened with singles (the first of three hits for Ramos). With one out, LF Rusney Castillo singled in Ramos. Lively then walked both 1B Rubén Gotay and RF Jorge Padilla to make it 2-0. A sacrifice fly by 2B Jesmuel Valentin made it 3-0 and SS Yadiel Rivera singled in Gotay for a 4-0 edge, chasing Lively with a 54.00 ERA; Wil Ledezma relieved. In the third, they padded their lead against Ledezma. Padilla drew a two-out walk and was doubled home by Valentin, who scored on a Rivera single. In the 4th, Ramos hit a one-out triple off Ledezma and 3B David Vidal singled off Romulo Sánchez to plate Ramos. In the fifth, the Criollos extended their lead to 8-0 - Sánchez plunked Padilla with one out and Rivera hit into a two-out error by 3B Ronny Cedeño, then C Jonathan Morales singled in Eddie Rosario (who had run for the injured Padilla).

After Puerto Rico had controlled the first half of the game and built their 8-0 lead, the second half of the game belonged to Venezuela, which almost caught up. In the bottom of the 5th, they finally got to veteran starter Orlando Román. 1B Jose Castillo singled with one out, LF José Pirela doubled and DH Alex Romero grounded in Castillo. In the 6th, Vidal hit his third homer of the Series, taking Luis Ramirez deep for a 9-1 edge. In the bottom of the 6th, CF Denis Phipps greeted reliever William Oliver with a home run and it was 9-2. In the 8th, the Tigres had their big inning. With two away, 2B Ali Castillo singled off Oliver, SS Freddy Galvis singled and Cedeño hit a two-run two-bagger. Fernando Cabrera relieved but walked RF René Reyes. After a wild pitch, José Castillo singled in two runs (his third hit) and it was now 9-6. Ricardo Gómez relieved and also threw a wild pitch but retired Pirela (who was 3 for 4) to end the inning. In the bottom of the 9th, the Eagles kept up the charge. Romero, C Jesús Flores and Phipps singled to load the bases with none out, bringing the potential winning run to the plate. Puerto Rico stuck with Gómez and the 38-year-old rebounded. He struck out Ali Castillo and got Galvis on a fly. Cedeño then struck out to end what surprisingly had become a down-to-the-wire game.

Game 12 Semi final

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Granma 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
Mexicali 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 X 1 5 0
Win: Miguel Pena (1-0) Loss: Lázaro Blanco (1-1) Save: Jake Sanchez (2)

After losing to Cuba yesterday, Mexico got their revenge in the semifinals to keep their hopes of a title defense going. Granma had their best shot against Miguel Pena in the top of the first. CF Víctor Mesa Jr. singled but was picked off; that proved critical when 3B Yunior Paumier walked and SS Alexander Ayala doubled as they would have had a run in. Pena recovered to get yesterday's heroes, DH Alfredo Despaigne and 1B William Saavedra, on grounders. Pena would not allow another baserunner; he left after five and Daniel Rodríguez turned in three hitless innings (1 BB, 5 K) then Jake Sanchez allowed one walk in a scoreless 9th.

Mexicali was stifled by Cuban ace Lázaro Blanco through four. In the fifth, they broke through for their only run, but it was all they would need with the way their pitching was going. Blanco, who had a two-hitter going, walked RF Ronnier Mustelier. C Sebastián Valle singled and Paumier made an error on the play, then 3B Agustín Murillo singled in Mustelier with the crucial run.

February 7[edit]

Game 13 Championship Game

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Caguas 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 7 1
Mexicali 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
Win: Miguel Mejia (1-0) Loss: Jake Sanchez (0-1)

The title game came down to the champions from 1986 and 1987, neither of which had won one since. Mexico had another 1-0 game, but this time wound up on the wrong end of an exciting extra-inning affair, as Puerto Rico ended a 16-year title drought, their longest stretch of Series without winning (they had not won between 1955 and 1972, but no Series was held from 1961-1969).

Caguas had a good shot in the first off Héctor Velázquez; with one out, DH Iván DeJesús Jr. singled and 3B David Vidal doubled, but they were stranded when LF Rusney Castillo grounded out and 1B Rubén Gotay popped out. Velázquez allowed only three hits in the next five innings, walking none and allowing no runs; he was succeeded by Tyler Alexander (1 H, 0 BB, 3 K in 2 IP) and Oliver Pérez (0 H, 0 BB, 0 K in 1 IP). Meanwhile, Adalberto Flores stifled Mexico, allowing only one hit and one walk in six shutout innings. Andrés Santiago was not quite as crisp; after one hit and two whiffs in a scoreless 7th, Mexico got their best shot in the 8th. DH Luis Juarez singled and was bunted over by RF Ronnier Mustelier. 1B Jesse Castillo walked, but PH Yordanys Linares went down on strikes. 2B Ramón Ríos grounded to SS Yadiel Rivera, who threw to third; the umpire called Juarez safe, which would have loaded the bases. Puerto Rico skipper Luis Matos appealed the call, which was overturned. Miguel Mejia relieved Santiago and tossed a shutout 9th, allowing one hit. In the top of the 10th, Rivera doubled off Mexicali closer Jake Sanchez. 2B Jesmuel Valentin bunted him over and C Jonathan Morales hit a sacrifice fly for the game's lone run. In the bottom of the 10th, Mejia went 1-2-3 to wrap up the win.

It was only the second time a .500 team had won the Series; both had been in the past three years, under a newer format.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jesse Sanchez: "Puerto Rico edges Mexico for Caribbean Series title: Island secures first championship since 2000 by winning in 10 innings", mlb.com, February 8, 2017. [1]
  • Thomas E. Van Hyning: "Caguas Criollos: Five Caribbean Series Crowns and Cooperstown Connections", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 47, Nr. 1 (spring 2018), pp. 7-16.

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