Friday, January 29, 2016

Tobis lose 1-0, drop to 1-and-2 at Latin American Series

The Veracruz Winter League pennant-winning Acayucan Tobis lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to Nicaraguan host Rivas Thursday night to wrap up their Latin American Series first round with a 1-2 record, tied for third with Colombia's Barranquilla Caemanes. According to tournament regulations, the Tobis advance to Saturday's semifinal game by virtue of their series-opening 9-3 win over the Caemanes on Tuesday.

For the second day in a row, Acayucan wasted a great pitching performance as Jorge Luis Ibarra put in seven shutout innings of mound work, allowing six hits and striking out four.  Likewise, The Gigantes benefitted from a solid start as Jonathan Aristill went six scoreless innings and striking out five while giving up five hits.

The scoreless draw was broken up in the bottom of the eighth when Rivas pinch-hitter Darrel Campbell (pictured) manufactured a run by singling off Tobis reliever Jose Luis Perez, moving to second on Ivan Marin's sacrifice bunt, stealing third and coming in on Ofilio Castro's groundout in what proved to be the only score Rivas needed as the Tobis went scoreless against Gigantes closer Jose Saenz in the top of the ninth to end the contest.

Acayucan finished with six hits on the night as DH Carlos Pedroso picked up a double and a pair of singles.  Jimmy Gonzalez and former Mexican League star and Dutch WBC player Yurendell de Caster each had two hits for the Gigantes.

Rivas finished the round-robin stage with a 2-1 record to tie for first with the Panama City Nacionals, who lost 4-1 to Colombian champions Barranquilla Friday. Panama City earns the top seed and a free pass to Sunday's title game by beating the Gigantes earlier in the week.  After an open date Friday, Rivas and Acayucan will meet again Saturday at Dennis Martinez National Stadium in Managua after playing Thursday night in Rivas' home ballpark because the Managua facility was unavailable.