Cuba, the team that was not supposed to even get to the finals wins it all. • Latino Sports

Caribbean Baseball

Cuba, the team that was not supposed to even get to the finals wins it all.

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Cuba playing for the second time in the Caribbean Series after five decades of not participating was crowned champions last night in the 2015 Caribbean Series in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Vegueros de Pinar Del Rio defeated Mexico’s team, the Tomateros of Culiacan 3-2 at the Hiram Bithorn stadium.

The surprising Cuban win came after qualifying for the finals with the worst record in the tournament of 1 win and 3 losses. The win to qualify for the semi finals was against the Puerto Rican team, the Cangrejeros de Santurce that up to that point, like Cuba was winless 0-3. Some say that Cuba did not beat the Puerto Rican team, but rather, the Puerto Rican team beat themselves in that 10-inning game by leaving 14 men on base.

Cuban starter and winning pitcher, Yosvani Torres had a no-hitter till the fouth inning. (Photo endi.com)

Cuban starter and winning pitcher, Yosvani Torres had a no-hitter till the fouth inning. (Photo endi.com)

Cuba then faced and beat the powerful Venezuelan team who was the only undefeated team until playing the semi-final game agaist Cuba.

Cuba then faced Mexico for the finals, who had won the previous two Caribbean Series, but something happened to the Cuban players who seemed to wake up and began to play the way that some were expecting from the team from the greater of the Antilles. .

Cuban manager, Alfonso Urquiola, who also did not seem like the same manager that started this tournament with the 3 losses, who had lost two players on Tuesday, but at the end got 23 hits in the last two games and his team also scored eleven times to claim the crown.

Yulieski Gurriel's home run sealed the win for Cuba. (Latinosports.com)

Yulieski Gurriel’s home run sealed the win for Cuba. Yulieski is one of many Cuban players that could easily be playing in any U.S. major league team. However, he like many others refuses to defect from his country. (Latinosports.com)

The historic win of the Vegueros foiled Mexico from being crowned for a third consecutive time. Dominican Republic did it in the 1997, 1998 and 1999 series, while Puerto Rico did in the early stages of the series in 1953, 1954 and 1955.

The Cubans took up where they had left on Saturday night and broke the ice in the first inning scoring their first run. After two outs, three consecutive hits by, Yulieski Gourriel, Alfredo Despaigne and Frederich Cepeda gave them a 1-0 to lead.

In the second inning, with one out, Cuba continued their offence with three consecutive hits, this time from William Saavedra, Luis A. Valdes and Luis Yander De la O, Cuba produced the offence, while the Cuban starter Yosvani Torres, kept a no-hitter going to the end of the fourth against the powerful Mexican offense.

The Hiram Bithorn stadium was pro Cuba as was heard by the "Cuba-Cuba" chants. The Cuban victory represented much mor ethan one baseball game. (Photo LSV)

The Hiram Bithorn stadium was pro Cuba as was heard by the “Cuba-Cuba” chants. The Cuban victory represented much more than one baseball game. (Photo LSV)

However, the Tomateros bats awoke in the fifth when first baseman Joey Meneses hit a ground rule double and advanced to second when the next batter, Russell Branyan, grounded out. Finally he crossed the plate on shortstop Walter Ibarra’s hit making the score, 2-1.

In the eighth, Cuba’s international player, Yuliesky Gourriel gave his team a much-needed cushion with a solo homer to left making the score, 3-1.

However, Mexico responded in the bottom of the eighth when center fielder Rico Noel, walked then with one out advanced to second on a single to left and scored with the second Mexican run on another single by Eric Farris. That made the score: 3-2.

But Cuban reliever, Hector Mendoza, took control and was responsible for turning off the threat, protect the lead and lead Cuba to becoming the 2015 Caribbean Series Champions.

About Julio Pabón

Julio is President and Founder of Latino Sports LLC., the parent company of Latinosports.com. Julio is a product of the South Bronx where he still lives and runs his businesses. Julio has written and has been interviewed for numerous publication and networks on sports & political issues. He has been an activist promoting social justice and respect for all communities. He is a recognized motivational speaker, was an adjunct professor of American History and presently volunteer's as a lecturer in local South Bronx High Schools. His primary goal is to make Latinosports.com a multi-facet sports portal that will engender social and economic empowerment to the Latino community.