Celestino’s fantastic catch leads Dominican Republic to first-ever Premier12 win

Celestino’s fantastic catch leads Dominican Republic to first-ever Premier12 win
The play of the match was an amazing diving catch by Gilberto Celestino in the fourth inning that stopped the tying run from scoring.

The Dominican Republic clinched today its first win in the history of the Premier12, defeating the Netherlands, 14-4 in seven innings. The Caribbean squad had a big offensive game, with 16 hits and three homers, however, the play of the match was an amazing diving catch by Gilberto Celestino.

After a clean first inning by Netherlands starter Jair Jurrens, the Dutch squad opened the game with a 3-0 lead in the bottom half of the innings, on a pair of home runs off starter Ervin Santana. Leadoff Roger Bernadina hit the first pitch he saw over the left field fence, while catcher Chadwick Tromp hit a 2-run shot for his team.

However, the Dominican Republic line up had a huge afternoon, scoring in each of the next six innings of play, including a six-run sixth inning. Carlos Peguero, Charlie Valerio and Jeison Guzman homered for the Caribbean team.

Despite the spectacular offence, the play of the game was an incredible catch from Gilberto Celestino in the bottom of the fourth. The Dominican outfielder tracked a fly ball deep into center field and made a diving catch with his back to home plate to rob Roger Bernadina of an extra-base hit and prevent the tying run to score from second base.

“My only thought was ‘I must catch that ball’, so I went for it and I could make the play,” said Celestino after the game.

“It was a great moment for me, receiving the recognition not only of the fans but also the Netherlands team”.

“I was playing left field, we were playing a bit short, and when the ball was hit I knew it would be very difficult”, commented Celestino’s teammate, Alfredo Marte.

“I was surprised, I think he had no chance to make that play, but he had the decision, and that helped him to glove the ball”.

Celestino was also hot with the bat, finishing the game a home run away from the cycle. He went 3-for-3, with an RBI. Alfredo Marte led the Dominican offensive with four RBI, including a bases-loaded double down the right field line to plate Edwin Espinal and Celestino in the sixth.

“In this at-bat, I focused on trying to hit the ball to the opposite field,” said Marte during the press conference.

“I saw the pitcher throwing to the outside corner before me, so I tried to hit it to right field”.

Santana and Jurrjens, both former MLB pitchers, had short outings today. The Dominican lasted only 2.1 innings in the mound, allowing five hits and three runs. Jurrjens pitched 2 innings and surrendered the same amount of hits and runs.

The winning pitcher was Henry Henry, in relief of 1.2 innings. He allowed two hits.

This was the first victory ever for the Dominican Republic in the history of the Premier12 after going winless in 2015, and dropping their opening game of 2019 to Mexico.

Dominican Republic will play tomorrow USA looking to advance to the Super Round, while Netherlands will play Mexico on Tuesday in the last game of Group A.