Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 CARIBBEAN SERIES SCHEDULE

THU, Feb. 2: Venezuela @ Puerto Rico (3pm), OBREGON @ Dominican Rep. (7pm)

FRI
, Feb. 3: Puerto Rico @ OBREGON (3pm), Dominican Rep. @ Venezuela (7pm)

SAT
, Feb. 4: Venezuela @ OBREGON (3pm), Dominican Rep. @ Puerto Rico (7pm)

SUN
, Feb. 5: Puerto Rico @ Venezuela (3pm), Dominican Rep. @ OBREGON (7pm)

MON
, Feb. 6: OBREGON @ Puerto Rico (3pm), Venezuela @ Dominican Rep. (7pm)

TUE
, Feb. 7: OBREGON @ Venezuela (3pm), Puerto Rico @ Dominican Rep. (7pm)

*ALL TIMES LOCAL, ALL GAMES AT ESTADIO QUISQUEYA, SANTO DOMINGO*

Saturday, January 28, 2012

YAQUIS LOAD UP WITH 8 REINFORCEMENTS FOR SERIE CARIBE

The Obregon Yaquis have finalized their Caribbean Series roster by adding eight more players from other Mexican Pacific League team prior to flying to Santo Domingo for Thursday’s CS opener.

The defending Mex Pac and CS champions picked up three pitchers, a catcher, three infielders and an outfielder to bolster a lineup that has already been strong enough to defeat Guasave in four straight games for the LMP pennant after topping the Algodoneros in six games during the first round and Mexicali in five contests in the semifinals.

Joining manager Eddy Diaz’ Yaquis for their trip to the Dominican Republic are pitchers Dan Serafini (Los Mochis), Miguel Gonzalez (Mazatlan) and Edgar Gonzalez (Hermosillo), catcher Humberto Cota (Hermosillo), infielders Oscar Robles (Mexicali), Jose Rodriguez and Jesus Lopez (both Guasave) plus outfielder Chris Roberson (Hermosillo).

Although the others all have their bonafides as pitchers and players, the selection of Lopez is a curiosity because he batted just .246 with 2 homers and 11 RBIs in just 114 at-bats and has little to show after six years of minor league ball in Mexico and the USA. Lopez was selected over more proven shortstop entities like Flavio Romero, Rolando Acosta, Ramiro Pena or Luis Alfonso Cruz, who had an outstanding winter for Culiacan in finishing third in the Mex Pac in batting (.340) and homers (17) and RBIs (47).

The Yaquis will be greeted in Mexico City by National Sports Commission director Bernardo de la Cruz on Tuesday before flying out to Santo Domingo the next day. Obregon’s first CS game is scheduled for Thursday night at 7PM local time against the host Dominican League champion. The Escogido Leones lead the best-of-9 LiDom title series, 4 games to 3, over Cibaenas after beating the Aguilas by a 5-2 score Saturday.

Elsewhere among CS leagues, Mayaguez has won the Puerto Rican League pennant and has made their reservations for Santo Domingo, while Aragua leads LaGuaira, 3 games to 2, in the Venezuelan League’s best-of-7 championship series.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

OBREGON BLUDGEONS GUASAVE FOR FOR MEX PAC FLAG REPEAT

When the Obregon Yaquis dispatched the Guasave Algodoneros Wednesday night to wrap up the Mexican Pacific League finals in four straight games, they didn’t use a broom. A shop vacuum is more like it.

The Yaquis blasted the Cottoneers, 19-0, by pounding out 25 hits in front of a stunned crowd of 7,824 at Guasave’s Estadio Francisco Carranza Limon. Sergio Contreras had four hits and five RBIs for Obregon, Carlos Valencia’s four-hit night included a solo homer, Iker Franco and Alfredo Amezaga combined for six hits, two homers, five runs and five RBIs…you get the idea.

Obregon opened the contest with five first-inning runs off Algos starter Francisco Cordoba, including a solo homer by Amezaga and a three-run round-tripper from Franco, both to right field. The score remained at 5-0 until the Yaquis tacked on two more in the sixth on a Valencia homer and a Karim Garcia RBI single, but the real fireworks came one inning later.

In the seventh, Obregon sent 15 players to the plate and scored 11 runs as Valencia, Contreras and Amezaga each turned in two hits to bring the score to 18-0. It’s safe to say the only seventh-inning stretching last night was done by the Yaquis’ third base coach, who was probably waving more than the queen at a homecoming parade.

Not that it was needed, but the Yaquis received a standout start from Marco Carrillo, who won his second playoff game by tossing six innings of three-hit shutout ball, striking out six Algodoneros and walking one. The only Yaqui who conceivably could have been disappointed was closer Luis Ayala, whose only chance of earning a fourth consecutive save in the LMP finals would have been to pitch batting practice to the Cottoneers.

With the Mex Pac competition vanquished for a second straight year, the next conquest for the Yaquis will be the Caribbean Series, which begins Thursday, February 2 in the Dominican Republic. Joining Obregon in Santo Domingo will be Puerto Rican champion Mayaguez after the Indios topped Caguas, 5 games to 3, in that league’s title series. The Venezuelan League championships between Aragua and LaGuaira are tied at a game apiece while the Escogido Leones lead Cibaenas in the Domincan Series, 3 games to 1.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

YAQUIS WIN AGAIN, TAKE 3-0 LMP TITLE SERIES LEAD

Obregon is one win away from their second consecutive Mexican Pacific League pennant after topping the Guasave Algodoneros, 6-4, Tuesday night in Guasave to pull into a 3 games to 0 lead in the LMP finals.

Yaquis SS Alfredo Amezaga (pictured) slashed two doubles and a single and scored three runs in five trips to the plate while DH Barbaro Canizares bashed a two-run homer en route to a 4-RBI night for Obregon as the defending Caribbean Series champs chased veteran Cottoneers starter Walter Silva after five innings by scoring five runs on seven hits and a walk. For his part, Obregon opener Rolando Valdez got the win with five frames of one-run ball and five strikeouts before giving way to eight (8) relievers as closer Luis Ayala once again retired the side in order in the ninth for his third straight save in the title set and seventh of the postseason.

The contest was tied at 1-1 in the top of the third when Obregon’s Corey Wimberly led off by reaching base on a throwing error by Guasave 2B Tony Thomas. Amezaga then lined a double to Algos right fielder Mario Valenzuela, bringing Wimberly all the way around to score. The Yaquis eventually built a 6-1 lead before Guasave scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh, highlighted by a two-run Jesus Lopez off Obregon reliever Hugo Castellanos, but it was too little too late for the Algos and their sellout home crowd of 8,000 at Estadio Francisco Carranza Limon.

Guasave has one shot to stay alive in the fight for their first pennant since 1973 Wednesday night. Francisco Cordoba is scheduled to take the mound for the Algodoneros against the Yaquis’ Marco Carrillo.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

ALGOS RETURN HOME WITH BACKS AGAINST WALL

It’s not as though the Guasave Algodoneros haven’t already faced adversity this season.

Midway through the 2011-12 campaign, the Algos had lost 27 of 35 games, including their last 16 contests to close out the first half of the schedule. Guasave finished eight games behind seventh-place Hermosillo for just 3 points, and fans had to be wondering what new manager Enrique "Che" Reyes was going to do after taking over from Matias Carrillo at that point, espcially since Reyes himself had been dispatched by Los Mochis. So what did happen in the second half?

In perhaps the most amazing in-season turnaround in Mex Pac history, Reyes guided the Algodoneros to a 21-12 record while winning the second half title by a game over Hermosillo. Yes, the Algos finished with an underwhelming 29-39 mark with a low-scoring offense and the worst pitching in the circuit, but if nothing else, this team showed they won’t quit.

However, this time around, Guasave doesn’t have 35 games to right the ship. After dropping the first two games of the LMP championship series in Obregon, the Algodoneros are home for up to three games, and they can’t win just one of them. 1B Japhet Amador (.327/5/11) and 2B Jose Rodriguez (.314/4/12) have hit well in the postseason, but OFs Brad Snyder (.127) and Leo Heras (.125) have just 12 hits between them in 14 playoff games while IFs Tony Thomas (.216) and Daryle Ward (.227) have struggled. And the Algos’ pitching staff has GOT to do better than show a 5.04 ERA as they have thus far.

Che Reyes has already proven he can pull a rabbit out of a hat this season, but he’s going to have to do it again soon against an Obregon team gunning for its second consecutive flag and a shot at repeating as Caribbean Series champions. Game Three is Tuesday night in Guasave’s Estadio Francisco Carranza Limon with Game Four set for Wednesday night.

A little magic show, anyone?

Monday, January 23, 2012

MURILLO BLASTS CLUTCH HOMER AS OBREGON TAKES 2-0 SERIES LEAD

One night after stroking a single to keep a game-winning rally going in Obregon’s 3-2 win over Guasave in Game One of the Mexican Pacific League championship series, Agustin Murillo swatted a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday night to lead the Yaquis past the Algodoneros in a 6-5 thriller Sunday before another sellout crowd of 13,984 at Obregon’s Estadio Tomas Oroz Gaytan.

The Algodoneros had built a 5-1 lead after Jose Rodriguez sliced a two-run single in the third and run-plating singles by Jesus Lopez and Jose Felix in the sixth. Obregon got two back in the sixth by scoring on a groundout by Doug Clark and a Carlos Valencia single, then came to within a run in the seventh on Barbaro Canizares’ RBI groundout.

Valencia was standing on first with two out when Murillo strode to the plate in the eighth and blasted a homer over the centerfield wall off Cottoneers closer Alan Guerrero to give the Yaquis their first lead since the top of the third. Luis Ayala then came out of the bullpen to replace Rafael Rodriguez on the mound in the top of the ninth and retired Guasave 1-2-3 on seven pitches for his sixth playoff save this winter (and second in both title series tilts).

Valencia went 3-for-4 for the Yaquis while Saturday hero Karim Garcia had two doubles as Obregon outhit the Algodoneros by an 8-to-4 margin. Yaquis starter Randy Keisler gave up just two hits in five innings, but struggled with five walks to the 22 batters he faced and ended up allowing four runs before Hugo Castellano replaced him in the sixth. Rodriguez benefitted from Murillo’s homer with the win despite only facing two batsmen. Guerrero took the loss with his second blown save of the postseason on a clear 75-degree Obregon night.

The two sides will travel to Guasave for Game Three on Tuesday night. Obregon now has a 2-0 series lead.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

YAQUIS OPEN MEX PAC FINALS WITH 3-2 WIN OVER GUASAVE

The defending Caribbean Series champion Obregon Yaquis continued their march toward a second straight CS crown with a 3-2 win over the Guasave Algodoneros in the opening game of the Mexican Pacific League title series Saturday night in front of 13,976 fans at a jam-packed Estadio Tomas Oroz Gaytan.

Karim Garcia (pictured) crashed a two-out solo homer to center field off Cottoneers starter James Avery in the bottom of the first to draw first blood in the series, and a leadoff solo blast by Sergio Contreras off Avery in the third gave the Yaquis a 2-0 lead. Guasave fought back in the top of the fourth when Daryle Ward singled up the middle off Obregon opener Luis Mendoza to bring in Leo Heras from third and make it a one-run contest. After two scoreless innings, Algodoneros slugger Japhet Amador bashed a Mendoza delivery for a solo bomb over the center field wall to knot the game up at 2-2.

The Yaquis got the one more run they’d eventually need for the win in the bottom of the seventh. Adrian C. Ramirez, who pitched for the Yaquis in the CS last year, came on in relief for Guasave and gave up a leadoff single to Carlos Valencia. After inducing Conteras to bunt a pop-up to Cottoneers catcher Jose Felix, Ramirez let up an Agustin Murillo single before giving way to Mauricio Lara. Lara got Corey Wimberley to fly out to right to make it two gone, but then he walked Alfredo Amezaga, bringing up Garcia with the bases loaded.

Karim, who’s only been hitting .182 in the postseason for the Yaquis, watched one strike and swung for another to dig himself an 0-2 hole in the count, but Lara then threw four straight balls to walk Valencia in from third for the game-winner.

Mendoza got the win for Obregon after tossing seven innings of two-run ball while Luis Ayala earned his fifth playoff save with 1.1 frames of scoreless pitching. Ramirez absorbed the loss for Guasave.

The two teams play again Sunday night before the series shifts to Guasave for Game Three Tuesday.