Carolina. The Indians of Mayaguez they finally broke the ‘macacoa’ in their fifth attempt to win the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League championship thanks to a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Giants.
Mayagüez had lost four consecutive final series, the last two against the Criollos de Caguas and, previously two, against the Cangrejeros de Santurce.
For Mako Oliveras, it represents his eighth championship as a manager in Puerto Rican professional baseball.
“This is one of the most I have enjoyed because I wanted to win it for Mr. Julio Feliciano, for the great city of Mayagüez and for all that fandom and that is why this eighth championship has a special flavor… but the protagonists are the baseball players, seeing how Chávez Young gave himself up, the same Erick Ramos who accepted his role on the bench, that’s a team victory,” Oliveras said in the middle of the celebration.
This is the 19th for the Indians as a franchise, one behind the Criollos. Mayagüez has not celebrated a championship since 2014. Meanwhile, the Giants will continue to pursue their first scepter since they won two consecutive ones in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons under the command of Lino Rivera.
“Baseball is alive… we have to continue promoting it and there is a lot of new youngsters, well, that Carolina team, I take my hat off to them because they never took off”, indicated the leader of the Indians.
Mayagüez scored his first run in the top of the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. In the fourth they added the second product of a double tug by Richie Palacios with Anthony García on board.
Rob Whalen was masterful from the mound for the Indians. The right-hander allowed no runs in the first six innings.
In the bottom of the sixth, Gabriel Cancel was hit by a pitch and almost immediately tried to steal second base. Indians catcher Roberto Pérez made what seemed like a perfect shot to shoot Cancel, however Edwards Guzmán demanded that the play be reviewed. After several minutes, the referees determined that Cancel arrived safely.
On the next pitch, Robinson Feliz hit a harmless fly ball to left field to end the Giants’ threat.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Giants put runners on first and second with two out, but lefty Dan Wirchansky caused Ozzie Martinez to line out to center field for the third out.
Carolina again made feints to tie the game in the eighth. Bryan Torres led off the batch with a single, Bryan Navarreto followed with a long drive to left that Danny Ortiz caught. Cancel then lined out to shortstop and the defender made a spectacular play to get Torres out of circulation.
Anderson Felix struck out to close the inning.
Barden Webb came on in the ninth for the Indians and was immediately greeted with Jan Hernandez’s single to lead off the shootout. Rubén Castro followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Sermo struck out for the first out. Delvin Pérez grounded out to second for the second, but drove in Hernández to make it 2-1.
With the tying run on third, Ozzie Martinez stepped into the batter’s box, however, he struck out to end the game.