The Serie del Caribe Championship Game
Cuba vs. Panama
February 10, 2019, 4:00 PM EST
Rod Carew National Stadium, Panama City, Panama
How We Got Here
The tournament was originally planned to be played in Venezuela, but the nation’s political conflict drove the game to a safer location, and only a few days before the first game, Panama was chosen to house the tournament. Panama was added to the list of teams that would participate in this year’s Serie del Caribe, since they would be the host. The format of the tournament was changed because of the last-minute relocation and addition of a team.
The first round was played from February 4-9; six teams were split into two groups, playing a double round robin to determine the final two teams. All three teams in Group A were very fond of entropy, finishing the group stage with a 2-2 record, with Cuba advancing on tiebreakers. Meanwhile, Panama and the Dominican Republic finished Group B with a 3-1 record and Panama came out on top on after the tiebreaker.
Cuba defeated Venezuela in the final matchup 3-0, disappointing Venezuela after they won their first three games and defeated Cuba in their first meeting. Las Tunas of Cuba scored their first run in yesterday’s game with a pair of hits in the third inning. Venezuela helped Cuba add a second run by allowing three consecutive walks in the same inning. Cuba then capitalized on another Venezuela mistake in the sixth inning, scoring on a catcher error. The three-run lead was enough to put Cuba ahead in the tiebreaker, advancing them to the final.
Panama, however, was in a must-win situation going into the final game of the group stage. The only run of the game came in the second inning, when Panama got two baserunners on a pair of hits and was able to get a run across on a throwing error by the Puerto Rican shortstop. The one-run margin was enough for Panama to claim the tiebreaker over the Dominican Republic, advancing to the final game.
Finally, for today’s championship game, a surprise for the fans has been announced. Mariano Rivera threw out the first pitch at the start of the tournament and rumor has it that Rod Carew might throw out the first pitch of today’s final.
The Leñadores de Las Tunas, representing Cuba, are hoping to reclaim the glory they last won in 2015. Cuba has won the last three tournaments that were hosted in Panama, so they’ll be looking for that streak to continue.
The hosts are represented by Toros de Herrera. Panama last won the championship in 1950, when it was still known as the Serie Interamericana, and last hosted the tournament in 1960. A late addition to this year’s format, they’ll look to secure their second championship in front of the home crowd.
|C||Rodrigo Vigil||Oscar Valdes|
|1B||Jonathan Galvez||Yordanis Samon|
|2B||Edgar Munoz||Carlos Benitez|
|3B||Elmer Reyes||Yurisbel Gracial|
|SS||Javier Guerra||Jorge Enrique Aloma|
|LF||Allen Cordoba||Alfredo Despaigne|
|CF||Rodrigo Orozco||Yuniesky Larduet|
|RF||Jhonny Santos||Jorge Antonio Yhonson|
|DH||Jilton Calderon||Frederich Cepeda|
|P||Harold Arauz||Freddy Alvarez|
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