Santiago opens Cuban Baseball Season with win
- Submitted by: admin
- 12 / 05 / 2006
By SIGFREDO BARROS
Cubas 2006-2007 Baseball Season got underway Sunday afternoon in Havana with Santiago de Cuba defeating Industriales, last years defending champs, 6-3 before 35,000 fans at the capitals Latinoamericano Stadium.
Down by two runs, Antonio Pachecos team came from behind with a four-run rally in the sixth, two knocked in on a clutch double by Jose Julio Ruiz, third in the lineup. Ruiz hit the first pitch with runners on second and third after hits by Bell and Olivera and a sacrifice by Navas against Industriales starter Frank Montieth.
Before the rally, Montieth had held Santiago to three hits and retired the first eight batters he faced in order.
After Ruiz double, left-handed reliever Yoandy Portar came in and walked Meriño intentionally and hit Poll before being replaced by Odrisamen who got pitch hitter Ronnier Mustelier on a grounder to third but another run scored. The fourth run of the inning came on a well executed double steal.
Industriales, the popular team from the Cuban capital, had begun the scoring off of Santiago starter Danny Betancourt with a homerun by Yoandry Urgelles to left-center and widened the lead in the fourth on an RBI double by Doelsys Linares. In the fifth, lefthander Leodanis Menendez retired Industriales without problems and Aberto Bicet came on in the sixth to pitch four innings allowing only one run and picking up a save.
Santiago got an insurance run in the seventh on a throwing error by shortstop Rudy Reyes and another in the eighth on a double play grounder by Reutilio that allowed Poll to score from third.
The win for Santiago was its third in four season opening victories over Industriales. Ruiz, Poll and Reutilio all went 2 for 4 to lead the charge. Yasser Gomez was the only Industriales batter to get two hits. Inaugural Ceremony
The most striking moment of the inaugural ceremony was the parade of representatives of the 16 teams sporting their different colored uniforms both for home and road games, followed by traditional conga music.
After a moment of silence for popular sports announcer and writer Eddy Martin, who died recently, the letter of commitment of the players and umpires was read by Industriales first baseman Alexander Mayeta and umpire Nelson Diaz.
The 2005-2006 season championship was won by Industriales over Santiago after playoffs that also included Sancti Sprititus, Granma, Villa Clara, Isle of Youth, Ciego de Avila and Havana Province.