Friday, January 15, 2010


The Magallenes Navegantes are in the driver’s seat of the Venezuelan League’s first round of playoffs with a 9-4 record in the five-team, 40-game round robin.

Hot on the Navegantes’ heels are the Caracas Leones, who are one game back at 8-5. La Guaira remains in contention at 7-5, but Margarita (who will host this year’s Serie Caribe) is 4-8 while Zulia is near elimination with a 3-9 record. Defending Caribbean Series champion Aragua did not qualify for the playoffs this winter.

Magallenes and Caracas tied for first place in the regular season at 41-22, nine games ahead of 32-21 La Guaira in third place. Alcedes Escobar of Lara hit .393 to win the batting title. Zulia’s Ernesto Mejia hit 14 homers, while Wilson Ramos of Aragua drove in 53 runs. Carlos Monasterios of Margarita led all pitchers with seven wins, Margarita’s Alberto Bastardo was tops in ERA at 2.77, and Zulia’s Josh Schmidt had the most strikeouts with 71.

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