Nicaragua will host Cuba for a 3 game series starting Friday, 23 February. The games between the 2 baseball National Teams come under the umbrella of the WBSC.
The games will be played in the recently built Denis Martinez stadium in Managua. The ball park has been unofficially renamed The House of the Perfect Game, in memory of the perfect game pitched by Denis Martinez, then representing the Montreal Expos, against the Los Angeles Dodgers on 21 July, 1991.
Games against Cuba are considered a classic in Nicaragua since the 1972 Baseball World Cup. A strong Nicaragua team, featuring legends of the game like Rafael El Capi Obando, Calixto Vargas, Cesar Jarquin defeated Cuba 2-0.
Nicaragua manager Julio Sanchez selected 30 players:
PITCHERS (13) Wilton López, Carlos Teller, Gustavo Martínez, Fidencio Flores, Wilber Bucardo, Jorge Bucardo, José Elías Villegas, Berman Espinoza, Juan Bermúdez, Jason Aburto, Ernesto Glasgon, Armando Montenegro, Pedro Torres.
CATCHERS (3) Janior Montes, Rafael Estrada, Ronald Rivera
INFIELDERS (8) Darrel Campbell, Ofilio Castro, Benjamín Alegría, Iván Marín, Elmer Reyes, Edgar Montiel, Moisés Flores, Iván Hernández.
OUTFIELDERS (5) Jilton Calderón, Dwight Britton, Renato Morales, Javier Robles, Norlando Valle
UTILITY (1) Williams Vásquez.
Cuba flew to Managua with a 24 player roster. Manager Carlos Martì has selected:
PITCHERS (10) Lazaro Blanco, Erlys Casanova, Ulfrido Garcia, Yariel Rodriguez, José Angel Garcia, Alain Sanchez, Vladimir Garcia, Freddy Alvarez, Bladimir Banos, Misael Villa
CATCHERS (2) Frank Morejon, Yunior Ibarra
INFIELDERS (8) Guillermo Aviles, Juan Carlos Torriente, Carlos Benitez, Yordan Manduley, Alexander Ayala, Lazaro Cedeno, Raul Gonzalez, Yorbert Sanchez
OUTFIELDERS (4) Frederich Cepeda, Roel Santos, Jorge Tartabull, Raiko Santos
Veteran switch hitter Cepeda was part of the team that played the 2006 World Baseball Classic final. The Cuban roster includes 9 National Team rookies: Tartabull, Casanova, Álvarez, Ibarra, Sánchez, José Ángel García, Rodríguez, Vladimir García and Misael Villa.
Both teams will test top prospects that will represent the countries in the WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup 2018.
The cover photo is by Juan David Grande