After 2 games, Nicaragua and Panama confirm themselves as the teams to beat in the baseball tournament of the Central American Games. They will face each other on day 4 of the round robin, Friday 15 December, and there’s a fair chance they will meet in the gold medal game.
Panama outscored both Costa Rica, 11-1, and Honduras, 10-0, but has yet to face tougher competition. Panama will play El Salvador on day 3 and face Guatemala on the last day of the round robin.
The hosts Nicaragua were off a pretty good start as they defeated, 8-2, El Salvador behind solid performances by their best pitchers: veteran and former Big Leaguer Wilton Lopez and Boston Red Sox prospect Roniel Raudes.
Nicaragua pitching was not so good against Guatemala but the hosts managed to win, 10-8. Guatemala relievers Berger, Meneses and Werner couldn’t stick to an early lead.
Guatemala is a young team with some quality hitters but they lack consistent pitching. Outfielder and first baseman Juan Diego Montes (born 1994) plays affiliated baseball in the USA for the Baltimore Orioles and has appeared in 64 games in the Dominican Summer League during the 2017 season. Other players have pro experience: catcher Fabian Vizcaino (born 1995) played Rookie League baseball (2014-2016), outfielder and third baseman Manuel Hernandez (born 1992) played also for the Orioles (2010-2014) and got to Class A, infielder Andres Aguilar (born 1992) is another former Oriole (2012-2014, Rookie League).
El Salvador got the first win, 7-2, against Costa Rica on day 2 of the tournament and aims at least to a bronze medal. The star for El Salvador is 50 year old Cuban manager German Mesa, a legendary shortstop, nicknamed The Magnet or El Mago, for the Industriales and Cuba National Team in his playing days.
Guatemala and El Salvador will face each other to open day 4 of the round robin.