Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tobis open Latin American Series with 9-3 win over Colombian champs

It was a good day for veteran ballplayers Tuesday as pitcher Jasiel Acosta (pictured) turned in a good start and Pedro Diaz went 3-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the Veracruz Winter League champion Acayucan Tobis to a 9-3 clobbering of Colombia's Barranquilla Caimanes in the opening game of the 2017 Latin America Series in Managua, Nicaragua.

The Colombian League champions took an early 1-0 lead when Efraim Contreras scored on a single to right field by Adrian Sanchez in the bottom of the first, but Acayucan broke through with two scores in the top of fourth when Cuban product Joan Carlos Pedroso came in on a Sergio Perez sacrifice fly and Diaz scored the go-ahead run on Jose Castaneda's single.  Diaz is a 20-year LMB corner infielder who played in Tabasco last summer.

The Tobis took a 4-1 lead in the sixth as Pedroso plated a run on a Castaneda sacrifice fly while Diaz doubled and later scored on Daniel Sanchez' hit to right, but Barranquilla closed the gap to one with runs in the bottom of the sixth and seventh frames.  Acayucan then put the game away with five scores in the top of the ninth, paced by RBI singles from another pair of vets, ex-Padres minor leaguer Adan Velazquez and Christian Zazueta, bringing the count to 9-3.

Acosta, a 33-year-old lefty who's spent the past 15 summers in the Mexican League and was a teammate of Diaz' in Tabasco last year, got the win after putting in 5.2 innings of work against the Caimanes, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk, striking out four.  Randy Consuegra was tagged with the loss for the Caimanes after giving up up two runs on five hits a a pair of free passes over 4.1 innings.  After the game, Mexico's ambassador to Nicaragua, Lic. Miguel Diaz Reynoso, came into the Acayucan locker room to congratulate manager Jose Angel Chavez' team on their win.

The Tobis play their second game Wednesday when they take on the Panamanian League titlist Panama City Nacionals, who scored three times in the top of the tenth to beat the host Rivas Gigantes, 6-3, in Tuesday's nightcap.  Jose Grijalva will get the start for Acayucan, who can clinch a berth in Saturday's semifinal with a win.