Sunday, March 13, 2016

Veracruz tops German Nationals, 6-1, in Tucson

The Veracruz Rojo Aguilas have been training in Tucson, Arizona this month, along with the Tijuana Toros and Campeche Piratas.  On Saturday, the Red Eagles took on the German National Team in a tuneup for Germany's participation later this week at the World Baseball Classic qualifier tournament in Mexicali, with Veracruz coming away 6-1 victors at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium (formerly known as Tucson Electric Park).

Veracruz didn't blow Germany away so much as administered a baseball version of "death by a thousand cuts" by scoring single runs in the first and second innings, two more in the third and pushing another pair of runners across the plate in the fourth in building up a 6-0 lead.  Andy Vasquez scored the first run of the game in the first inning by streaking in from third on Roger Kieschnick's tapper back to the mound.  The Rojo Aguilas made it 2-0 in the second when Juan Martinez doubled in Baltazar Lopez from second base.

The Red Eagles got a little more breathing room in the third frame when Kieschnick doubled and later scored on Humberto Sosa's sacrifice fly to bring the score to 3-0.  Later that inning, Veracruz' lead was stretched to four runs when Lopez drew a walk, advanced to second and then scored on Martinez' second hit of the contest.

Veracruz plated their final two scores with the closest thing to a big inning that they'd have in the fourth stanza.  Enrique Osorio led off with a double, Vasquez tripled Osorio in and then scored the Rojo Aguilas' sixth run himself when Juan Silverio singled.

The shutout bid by Veracruz' pitching staff carried into the eighth, when it was broken up by opportunistic German baserunning.  The following sequence comes from a convoluted press release translation, so take it with a grain of salt:  German Eric Brunck singled off Dominican hurler Jailen Peguero, advanced to second on a hit by Christoph Ziegler, took third on a double steal with Ziegler and then scored on a throwing error by Veracruz' unnamed third baseman off a grounder down the baseline by Deutschmen outfielder Kent Matthes.

However they were scored upon, the Veracruz pitching staff turned in a solid performance in the win.  Manuel Flores tossed three innings for the win, allowing two hits and striking out two in relief of starter Jose Miguel Pina, who blanked Germany over the first two frames.  Jan-Niclas Stoecklin took the loss for the Germans after allowing four runs on five hits in three innings.

Veracruz is coming off a 48-65 season in 2015, finishing last in the Mexican League South Division under then-manager Sharnol Adriana, a former Liga star outfielder and Dutch National Team starter.  Onetime Washington Nationals coach Marc Weidemaier has taken over as skipper with the Red Eagles.  A 34-year baseball veteran, the bilingual Weidemaier started his coaching career while studying for his master's degree at THE Ohio State University in 1982.  He briefly managed the LMB's Torreon Algodoneros in 1988, but most of Weidemaier's career has been spent in scouting.