The Obregon Yaquis swept a three-game home series against Culiacan over the weekend to vault past fast-fading Navojoa into first place in the Mexican Pacific League second-half stands with a week remaining in the regular season.
Obregon held off the Tomateros, 5-3, Sunday night before 8,308 onlookers at Estadio Tomas Oroz Gaytan to complete the sweep and leapfrog ahead of the Mayos, whose last-inning rally fell a run shy in Sunday's 6-5 home loss to Mazatlan. It was the sixth straight defeat for Navojoa, who'd dropped three in a row at Culiacan before coming home to face the Venados. Obregon has won four of their last six games, winning one of three games in Los Mochis before taking a broom to the Tomateros.
It's been a tight second half in the MexPac, where just 4.5 games separate first place from last with nine days remaining on the schedule. The final day of the regular season is Tuesday, December 29.
Jalisco teammates OF Jesus Valdez and 2B Amadeo Zazueta are 1-2 in the MexPac batting race: Valdez is hitting .351, Zazueta is at .342. Obregon 3B Christian Villanueva, a legitimate MVP candidate, is third in the league with a .338 average. Jalisco's slugging 1B Japhet Amador is tops with 14 homers and 48 RBI's, although Amador's winter season may be over with his pending move to Japan. OF's Rico Noel of Culiacan and Jeremias Pinedas of Mazatlan are tied for the MexPac lead with 24 stolen bases each.
Mexicali's Javier Solano tossed seven innings of two-hit shutout ball against Hermosillo Friday night for his LMP-best eighth win. Solano rang up 10 strikeouts against the Naranjeros to bring his league-leading total to 67. Mazatlan's Alejandro Soto's 2.73 ranks just ahead of Los Mochis' Derrick Miramontes (2.74) and Obregon's Rolando Valdez (2.78). Mochis' Andres Avila's save against Obregon Thursday tied the LMP record of 23, set by Obregon's Mark Zappelli in 1990-91 for Obregon. Avila, another MVP possibility, has converted saves in all but one of 24 opportunities this winter.
LMP STANDINGS: Obregon 16-11, Navojoa 15-12, Hermosillo 14-12, Los Mochis 14-13, Mazatlan 13-14, Mexicali 12-14, Culiacan 12-15, Jalisco 11-16.