Photo: © Estadio Nacional Dennis Martínez.

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – The host nation completed an undefeated run in baseball, Nicaragua’s national sport, with a 3-1 defeat over Panama in the gold medal finale of the Managua 2017 Central American Games at a sold-out, 15,000-seat Estadio Nacional Dennis Martínez.

Managua 2017 organisers scheduled the gold medal in baseball as the last medal awarded to set the stage for the ultimate grand finale and national celebration.

Nicaragua’s Elmer Reyes blasted a 2-run home run while former big leaguer Wilton Lopez shut down the Panamanian offense to earn the win.

In the bronze medal game, El Salvador and Guatemala were both awarded the bronze medal, as rain forced cancellation of the contest. Honduras finished fifth, and Costa Rica sixth.

Claiming the gold, Nicaragua earns a ticket to the Central American and Caribbean Games 2018 in Barranquilla, Colombia, together with: host Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Executive Board member Willi Kaltschmitt awarded the gold medals to the Nicaraguan National Baseball Team on the podium.

The Central American Games was the last event on the 2017 international calendar, and the WBSC will soon announce the end-of-the-year standings in the WBSC Baseball World Rankings Presented by ENEOS.