28/09/2023 - 01/10/2023


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Granma win Baseball Champions League Americas opener
28/09/2023 2 Minute Read

Granma win Baseball Champions League Americas opener

The Cuban National League 2022 champions beat the Fargo Moorehead Red Hawks 3-1 after a game dominated by pitchers and defence. A spectacular opening ceremony followed the historic opening game.

Alazanes de Granma defeated the Fargo Moorehead Red Hawks to open the inaugural Baseball Champions League Americas at the Kukulkan Alamo Park in Merida, Mexico.

History was made with the two teams playing the first ever WBSC Baseball Champions League game in beautiful conditions in Merida.

Baseball's first-ever "international tournament of champions" is taking place from 28 September to 1 October, with the participation of league champions from Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and USA.

The participating teams are Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, champions of the American Association of Professional Baseball (an official Partner League of Major League Baseball); Alazanes de Granma, the Cuban National League champions; Caimanes de Barranquilla, winners of the Colombian Baseball League; and hosts Leones de Yucatan, LMB champions 2022.


The game will go down in the history books as a pitching duel. Both starters, Granma's veteran Erly Casanova and Fargo's Christian Young, limited the opponents to one run.

"It was a close game, one of those the fans love," commented Granma's manager Leonardo Soto. You didn't see a lot of hitting today."

Getting out of the eighth and the ninth innings with double plays was the key to your win?
"Well, I would say the key was scoring those two runs in the bottom of the eighth. That allowed us to strengthen our defence with the Cuban National Series gold glove shortstop [Milan Matos]."

Granma's closer, Juan Penalver, was not on his best day. "He didn't look like he had his best control, so we decided to change. Fortunately, I have two closers on this roster, and Civil completed the job."

Live blog - Game as it happened

Starters Christian Young and Erli Casanova dominated the first three innings. Right fielder Raico Santos, the second Cuban hitter of the game, doubled in the bottom of the first. No other runner reached base safely in the first third of the game.

Centre fielder Dillon Thomas doubled to lead off the fourth and became the first Red Hawks hitter to reach base. Catcher Roy Morales followed with a single and brought him to third. Casanova retired the side in order, including back-to-back strikeouts, to get out of the jam.

Granma scored the go-ahead run in the bottom half of the frame. Designated hitter Yordanis Samon hit a one-out single. Young hit catcher Yosvany Alarcon and then allowed an RBI single to third baseman Yordany Alarcon.

Fargo tied the game in the top of the sixth. Catcher Roy Morales drove the fourth pitch by Casanova over the left field wall for a solo home run.

Grant Gavin took the mound for the Red Hawks in the bottom of the sixth.

Yanelquis Duardo took the mound for Granma in the top of the eighth. He hit Sam Dexter to leadoff the inning. Morales hit a one-out single and brought Dexter to third. Duardo got Chris Grrmann to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Granma scored two in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Garret Alexander. Yordanis Samon hit an RBI double. He reached third on Yosvany Alarcon's single and scored on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Guillermo Aviles.

Granma sent closer Juan Penalver to the mound in the top of the ninth. The reliever left for Alberto Civil with the bases loaded and one out. Pinch hitter Dayson Croes worked the count full, then fouled off three pitches and grounded into a game-ending double play.