28/09/2023 - 01/10/2023

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Baseball Champions League Americas: Caimanes beat Leones to end historic opening day

Baseball Champions League Americas: Caimanes beat Leones to end historic opening day
28/09/2023
Barranquilla used a four-ran fourth at bat and six pitchers to defeat the hosts on an impressive, ground-breaking opening day. Granma defeated the Fargo-Moorehead Redhawks in the first game. "We are witnessing history," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari during a spectacular Opening Ceremony.

The Barranquilla Caimanes (Professional Baseball League of Colombia) beat the hosts Yucatan Leones (Mexican Baseball League), 5-3, in the second game of a momentous opening day at the inaugural Baseball Champions League Americas in Merida, Mexico.

Earlier in the day, Cuba champions Granma defeated the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks from USA 3-1 in the tournament's opening game.

The Caimanes scored all the runs they needed in the top of the fourth. The four-run rally started with a hard comebacker to the mound that cost Yucatan's starter Henderson Alvarez an injury.

"Alvarez is OK. We took him out because he was in a lot of pain," commented Roberto Vizcarra, the Leones manager, after the game. "Losing him hurt us badly. Henderson was doing a good job keeping the pitch count low. He could have given us six innings."

"It was a close game," added Barranquilla's manager, Carlos Vidal. "it developed the way we wanted, and we took our chances."

The Caimanes used six pitchers, six in the bottom of the second. "We knew Escarra was their best hitter, and you don't want to get beaten by the best hitter. As I said, things developed the way we wanted."

Jesus Marriaga, the WBSC Player of the Day, went 3-for-4 and scored two runs. "At the end of the day, you must do the best possible job for the team. This is what I try to do: give my best on every pitch, inning after inning."

An impressive opening ceremony, honouring the heritage and culture of the four participants, preceded the game.

"I'm sure you are as thrilled as I am," said WBSC President Fraccari during his opening speech. "We are witnessing history."

He added: "This event wouldn't have been possible without the commitment of the WBSC, the Mexican Baseball League and the Leones."

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Live blog - Game as it happened

Henderson Alvarez took the mound for Leones, while Caimanes handed the ball to Jose Pina.

Yucatan's first baseman Juan Escarra singled off the wall in tight field with one out in the bottom of the second to record the game's first hit.

The Leones scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the third. Shortstop Marco Jaime hit a one-out double and scored on a single by Josh Fuentes. With runners at first and second, second baseman Jonathan Villar grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Caimanes reversed the lead in the top of the fourth. First baseman Osman Marval led off with a double and reached third as third baseman Demetrius Sim singled. Catcher Pabel Manzanero hit a hard comebacker to the mound that hit Henderson Alvarez and became an RBI single.

Alvarez had to leave the game, and the Leones handed the ball to Isaac Jimenez, who allowed Barranquilla's go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Caimanes extended their lead on a two-out and two-RBI single to right field by leadoff hitter Edwin Garcia.

The Leones called Jesus Chavez from the bullpen, who got out of the inning with a pickoff to first.

Yucatan cut the gap to one run in the bottom half of the frame, With a runner at third, right-fielder Yadir Drake looked at one ball and turned the second offering by Josè Pina in a two-run homer.

Fernando Perez took the mound for Barranquilla to get out of the inning.

Leones handed the ball to hard-throwing right-hander Enrique Burgos, who loaded the bases with two outs and then got out of the jam with a strikeout.

Peres struck out Anthony Garcia to lead off the bottom of the sixth and left. Odoy Nunez only threw two pitches. Escarra looked at a ball and doubled on the second pitch. Caimanes handed the ball to Ruben Galindo, who got the second out on a fly ball and struck out Drake to end the inning.

Jesus Marriaga led off the ninth with a double. The Caimanes bunted him to third, and Marriaga scored on a throwing error.

Elkin Alcala took the mound for Barranquilla in the bottom of the ninth. He walked Marco Jaime with one out and went three balls down in the count with Norberto Obeso. He got Obeso swinging at a high 94-mile-per-hour fastball and retired the final out on a grounder.

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