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01/16/2006 Archived Entry: "VIVA BEISBOL Weekly (Mexican Pro Baseball News)"

Mazatlan, Guasave take 2-1 Series Leads
Lundberg signs with Dodgers, leaves Algodoneros

The Mexican Pacific League semifinals got underway last week, and after Saturday’s games, both the defending champion Mazatlan Venados and Guasave Algodoneros have taken 2 games to 1 leads in their respective best-of-7 series. Mazatlan defeated the Navojoa Mayos 5-2 Saturday night behind the big bat of Pedro Castellano, while Guasave shut out Hermosillo 6-0 as Algodoneros starter Edgar Leyva turned in a stellar performance on the mound.
Castellano launched a three-run homer for the Venados to break a scoreless tie and Mazatlan never looked back. Deer starter Pablo Ortega was touched by the Mayos for 12 hits over seven innings, but pitched out of enough jams to limit Navojoa to just two runs in posting the win. Closer Mark Worrell tossed a scoreless ninth inning to collect the save.
Mario Mendoza Jr. pitched well for Navojoa, but was ultimately done in by Castellano’s bomb. Mendoza allowed four runs and six hits over six innings in absorbing the loss. The Mayos actually outhit Mazatlan by a 14-9 margin for the game, as Aaron Holbert went 4-for-5 with an RBI single and both Doug Clark and Oscar Robles registered 3-hit nights.
In Hermosillo, the Naranjeros were stymied by Leyva and his relievers in a one-hit 6-0 shutout loss to the Algodoneros. Leyva went seven strong innings, allowing just one safety and striking out seven Naranjeros batsmen en route to his second win of the postseason. He got all the support he needed when Dave Doster stroked a two-run single and Mario Valenzuela crashed a solo home run.
Conversely, Hermosillo starter Sergio Mitre was shaky in his two innings of work. Mitre coughed up six walks, two hits and uncorked a wild pitch before manager Lorenzo Bundy brought out the hook. Mitre, who is now 0-2 in the playoffs, was booed by the Naranjeros fans before Bundy put an end to the walkfest.
Mazatlan will play host to Navojoa today and tomorrow, while Guasave will play two more in Hermosillo. The Algodoneros will have to continue their matchup with the Naranjeros without ace pitcher Spike Lundberg. Lundberg, who led the MexPac in wins and ERA during the regular season and already had three wins and a save in the playoffs, was signed last week by the Los Angeles Dodgers on the urging of scout Mike Brito. He will take a physical for the Dodgers, who plan to add him to their 40-man roster heading into spring training. Prior to this winter, Lundberg was coming off a rather nondescript season as a reliever for Syracuse in the International League and was a free agent looking for a place to land in 2006. It’s safe to say his season in the Mexican Pacific League raised his profile immeasurably.

Upcoming LMP Semifinal Schedule:
Sunday, January 15, 2006 Navojoa at Mazatlan, Guasave at Hermosillo
Monday, January 16, 2006 Navojoa at Mazatlan, Guasave at Hermosillo
Wednesday, January 18, 2006 Mazatlan at Navojoa, Hermosillo at Guasave
Thursday, January 19, 2006 Mazatlan at Navojoa, Hermosillo at Guasave

MAZATLAN leads NAVOJOA, 2 games to 1
1/11/06 Mazatlan 5, Navojoa 3 (Venados’ Roberto Saucedo belted a 3-run homer)
1/12/06 Navojoa 6, Mazatlan 5 (Jesse Gutierrez stroked a 3-run HR for the Mayos)
1/14/06 Mazatlan 5, Navojoa (Mazatlan’s Pedro Castellano hit a 3-run roundtripper)

GUASAVE leads NAVOJOA, 2 games to 1
1/11/06 Guasave 4, Navojoa 0 (Guasave’s Spike Lundberg tossed 5-hit shutout)
1/12/06 Hermosillo 7, Guasave 1 (Naranjeros’ Chris Prieto was 4-5 with HR and 2B)
1/14/06 Guasave 6, Hermosillo 0 (Guasave’s Edgar Leyva went 7 IP on 1-hitter)

First Round Playoff Results

SUNDAY, JANUARY 1 at Navojoa 2, Culiacan 1
MONDAY, JANUARY 2 at Navojoa 5, Culiacan 3
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4 Navojoa 3, at Culiacan 2
THURSDAY, JANUARY 5 at Culiacan 2, Navojoa 1
FRIDAY, JANUARY 6 Navojoa 2, at Culiacan 1
Navojoa wins series, 4 games to 1

SUNDAY, JANUARY 1 at Guasave 12, Los Mochis 1
MONDAY, JANUARY 2 Los Mochis 4, at Guasave 2
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4 at Los Mochis 8, Guasave 2
THURSDAY, JANUARY 5 Guasave 7, at Los Mochis 2
FRIDAY, JANUARY 6 Guasave 5, at Los Mochis 4
SUNDAY, JANUARY 8 at Guasave 7, Los Mochis 6
Guasave wins series, 4 games to 2

SUNDAY, JANUARY 1 Hermosillo 8, at Mazatlan 3
MONDAY, JANUARY 2 at Mazatlan 6, Hermosillo 2
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4 Mazatlan 9, at Hermosillo 1
THURSDAY, JANUARY 5 at Hermosillo 7, Mazatlan 4
FRIDAY, JANUARY 6 at Hermosillo 4, Mazatlan 2 (10)
SUNDAY, JANUARY 8 Hermosillo 3, at Mazatlan 2 (10)
Hermosillo wins series, 4 games to 2

MAESTROS OF MEXICO: Roberto “Beto” Avila, IF (1943-59)
Remembered by North Americans as one of the mainstays of Al Lopez’ great Cleveland Indians teams in the 1950’s, Roberto Francisco “Beto” Avila is a true legend in Mexican baseball. Avila, who was known as “Bobby” north of the border, was born April 2, 1924 in Veracruz. He eventually grew to be 5’10” tall and 175 pounds.
Avila broke into the Mexican League as a 19-year-old with Puebla in 1943, batting just .229 over 88 games. He was a fast learner, however, and never hit less than .334 for the Pericos for the next four campaigns between 1944 and 1947. His performance was solid enough get him signed by Cleveland for $17,500 and an assignment to Baltimore in 1948, where he hit only .220 but nonetheless got a shot the next summer with Cleveland to fulfill bonus rules at the time. Avila again showed a weak bat, posting a .214 average in just 14 at-bats over 31 games, where he was used as a defensive replacement and a pinch-runner while he mostly watched.
From 1950 on, however, he was a main cog in the Cleveland lineup, topping the .300 mark three times and leading the American League in triples (11) in 1952 and batting (.341) in 1954, becoming the only Mexican-born player to win a big league batting crown. Avila developed a little power at the plate, too, hitting 63 homers between 1951 and 1956. His batting tailed off after his great 1954 season (in which he also played in the World Series), and he eventually ended up traveling to play for Baltimore, Boston and Milwaukee, wrapping up his major league career with a .238 average as a part-time player for the Braves.
Then 36, Avila headed back to Mexico for one more season, batting .333 for the Mexico City Tigres in 1960 before retiring as a player. In 11 major league seasons, Beto compiled a .281 career average with 80 homers and 467 RBI’s in 1,300 games. His six Mexican League campaigns showed a .329 average over 603 contests. Avila then entered politics and eventually became mayor of Veracruz, owner of the Veracruz Aguilas and president of the Mexican League.
The ironic thing is that Avila did not consider a baseball career while he was growing up. He was a professional soccer player and had dreams of becoming a bullfighter before learning how to play baseball after reading a book by former big league pitcher Jack Coombs. He was selected to the Salon de la Fama in 1971
NEXT WEEK: Final Road Trip visit in Mazatlan, Sinaloa

Viva Beisbol Trivia Quiz
Last issue’s Quiz answer: Matias Carrillo, who played his 24th season in the Mexican Pacific League this winter, is second to the great Hector Espino among LMP career batting leaders. Espino, who played 24 seasons himself in the MexPac, hit .329 between 1960-61 and 1984-85, which is far and away the highest career BA in league history. Carrillo, a surefire pick for the Salon de la Fama when his playing career is over, had a .293 career average going into this season in the pitching-strong LMP.
This issue’s Quiz: Can you name the only player to have two current pro ballparks named after him?

We’re pleased to announce that VIVA BEISBOL has been picked up by another affiliate website., a site based in Australia, is now running VIVA BEISBOL as part of their coverage of international baseball. Thanks to Ben Shepherd for adding us to his pages. is still developing, but provides coverage of baseball in dozens of countries around the world.
Meanwhile, we will continue provide comprehensive coverage of the Mexican Pacific League playoffs in January, the Caribbean Series in February, and the World Baseball Classic in March as well as the Mexican League from late March until September.
Don’t forget to log on to our website www.VivaBeisbol.Net for the most complete info on Mexican pro baseball in English on the internet, including Carlos “The Latin Insider” Fragoso’s frequent updates, Salon de la Fama member Tomas Morales’ “Tommy al Bat” column, and lots more.

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