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 Cubas Defending Baseball Champs Lose in Season Opener
The Pinar del Río baseball team crushed the current national champion Santiago de Cuba 12-3 in the first game of the 48th Cuban Baseball Series, which began Saturday in the province of Santiago de Cuba.

The starting pitchers included right-hander Norge Luis Vera, from Santiago de Cuba, and Yunieski Maya, from Pinar del Río, as announced by managers Antonio Pacheco and Luis Giraldo Casanova.

In the first inning, Maya struck two batters with his inside pitching—one of whom scored a run a few minutes later. Short after, Pinar del Río catcher William Otaño scored two runs with a homerun over the right field. The only surprise in the line-up was the absence of the monster hitter Yosvany Peraza, from Pinar del Río, who was slightly injured.

However, it was not the best night for Vera, as there was another homerun in the first inning by Donald Duarte, setting the scoreboard 4-1. In the sixth inning, Pinar del Río scored another four runs.

The last three runs by Pinar came a by homerun by the ninth batter, Reinier León.

In this first game, the Santiago de Cuba team did not show all its weapons, which last series turned them into the national champion, and which they expect will help them rule again in this present 2008-2009 competition.

The rest of the teams will begin playing on Tuesday, with eight provinces hosting opening games. Special attention will be drawn towards the game between the Industriales and Santiago, to take place at Havana’s Latin American Stadium.


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