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02/06/2004 Archived Entry: "Latin Baseball News: Winter ball and the Caribbean Series"
Latin Baseball News: Winter ball and the Caribbean Series
by Carlos Fragoso
In Mexico winter baseball, the Culiacan Tomato Growers did it once again in getting the championshinp, beating the Obregon Yaquis by 4 to 1 in a best of seven final series.
They powered their performance supported for their 8 major league players, including pitchers Rodrigo Lopez ( Oroles), Rigoberto Beltran ( Tigers), Jose Silva (former Pirate), and Expos star reliever Luis Ignacio Ayala, who performed 4 saves in as many opportunities, helped with the bats of Benji Gil, Jose´Macias ( Expos Second baseman), Karim Garcia, PuertoRican Melvin Nieves, Kit Pellow and others, who led the team to their 9th title in this league, and second in a row.
Obregon Yaquis skipper Tim Johnson, lost their sixth straight final in Mexican baseball, two in Mexican summer league ( Mexico City Red devils and Saltillo Sarape makers) and the remaining in winter ball ( Hermosillo orange growers, Mazatlan deers and Obregon Yaquis,twice)
League´s batting champion was former Red Sox outfielder and minor league standout, Dominican Rudy Pemberton,with .346-5-27 numbers in average, HR´s and RBI´S, Pitching champion Francisco Campos of Mazatlan, who signed with Chicago White Sox and will be searching for a roster spot, in the upcoming spring training, got the pitching triple crown, spotting a record of 10-2 68 KO ad 2.19 in ERA , all league leading numbers.
They´re representing Mexico into the Caribbean series, playing in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, along with Ponce Lions representing Puerto Rico,Aragua Tigers representing Venezuela and the host team Licey Tigers, the all time Series champions with 12 titles up to now.
Playing with Licey is just newly signed Oriol and , 2003 American League MVP, shortstop Miguel Tejada, who accepted to play, “because is his best desire to be a champion in this series in his hometown”
Which in all honesty this Dominican team, looks as the team to beat, because is conformed of almost all major league players.
Meanwhile, Mexican Summer league have started their spring training, since season begins on March 18th, and as part of the Mexico City Red Devils training schedule, Florida Marlins and Houston Astros will play here, next March 13th and 14th against them.
As of now, in the Caribbean series, Licey is making all odds, leading the series unbeaten 4 games to 0, followed by Mexico and Venezuela both tied in second place with a record of 2-2, and having Ponce winningless in 4 games in the bottom of this Latin world series.