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11/13/2006 Archived Entry: "VIVA BEISBOL: Garcia strokes 3 consecutive game-winners"

Naranjeros in control as MexPac first half draws towards finish

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NAVOJOA – It’s a pretty safe bet that the Navojoa Mayos will be happy to see Luis Alfonso Garcia leave town with his Hermosillo Naranjeros. Not that Garcia is a bad guest, but the slugging outfielder was perhaps a bit too willing to take advantage of hospitable Mayo pitching last weekend as the Orangemen strengthened their grip on first place in the Mexican Pacific League standings one week away from the conclusion of the first half schedule.

Garcia personally won the first two games of the series at Navojoa’s Manuel “Ciclon” Echevarria Stadium by whacking a third inning home run to put Hermosillo ahead to stay en route to a 7-5 victory over the Mayos on Friday night, followed by a 2-run single in the top of the ninth frame Saturday that was the difference-maker in the Naranjeros’ comeback 6-5 win. By then, the routine was probably starting to feel “old-hat” for Garcia, who helped the LMP leaders to a series-ending 7-5 win over Mazatlan Thursday night with a seventh-inning grand slam.

In all, it was a big week for Garcia and the Naranjeros, who won both series with the Venados and Mayos to take a three-game lead in the MexPac with just six games remaining in the first half schedule. Hermosillo will host last-place Guasave at Hector Espino Stadium Tuesday through Thursday before closing out the half with a three-game set at seventh-place Culiacan beginning Friday night. While the Orangemen are in the driver’s seat, they haven’t closed out the competition, as three other teams are mathematically still in the race.

However, these are good times in Hector Espino Stadium, where longtime catcher Sergio “Kaliman” Robles had his number 6 retired last Thursday, appropriately during the sixth inning of the Naranjeros’ home game against Mazatlan. Robles, who was elected to the Salon de la Fama earlier this year, spent 19 winters in Hermosillo as a player, manager and coach, and is the seventh player to have his number retired by the Sonoran team, including Espino himself.

Later this week, the Naranjeros will face a Culiacan team strengthened by the addition of outfielder Karim Garcia and pitcher Rigo Beltran to the Tomateros roster, although Beltran is not expected to join Culiacan until next Monday. Veteran outfielder Edgar Quintero is expected to rejoin the Tomato Growers from the injured list soon after suffering a wrist injury.

While things are looking good in Hermosillo, they aren’t exactly milk-and-cookies in Navojoa, where last year’s LMP Rookie of the Year, outfielder Fernando Rios, was cut by the team due to a fracture of his right wrist. The Mayos reportedly refused to pay Rios any salary because his injury occurred during summer. Rios hit .320 in 48 games last winter for Navojoa.

The first half will end next Sunday, with points assigned to teams based on their finish in the standings. The second half will run from next week through the end of December, followed by the January playoffs. The playoff winner will advance to the Caribbean Series, which has been awarded to Carolina, Puerto Rico. No schedule has been released, and there is concern about whether the annual event will go off as planned.

LMB FRANCHISE SHIFT: Tuneros move to Chihuahua

CHIHUAHUA – The San Luis Potosi Tuneros have moved their Mexican League franchise to Chihuahua. The Tuneros, who have never won the pennant, will now be known as the Chihuahua Dorados.

Chihuahua has approximately 675,000 people living in a modern industrial center that has played a prominent part in Mexican history. Next to Tijuana, Chihuahua will be the Liga’s most northwesterly city in its first season in 25 years.

The original Dorados played in the LMB between 1973 and 1982, and never qualified for the playoffs. The new Dorados will seek local players to augment a roster that already includes such players as Sharnol Adriana, Pat O’Sullivan and Darryl Brinkley. The Tuneros missed the playoffs with a 49-61 record in 2006 and ranked next-to-last in attendance with just 68,501 fans, or an average of 1,245 per game.

Hermosillo 20-8, Obregon 18-11, Mazatlan 17-11, Navojoa 15-13, Mexicali 13-15, Los Mochis 11-17, Culiacan 10-17, Guasave 8-20.

RESULTS of games from NOVEMBER 7 through NOVEMBER 12

Mazatlan 9, Hermosillo 4 (MAZ-Heber Gomez hit 3-run double in Venados’ 5-run 3rd inning)
Mexicali 9, Culiacan 7 (MXI-Humberto Cota drilled 3-run homer in Aguilas’ 6-run 6th frame)
Los Mochis 6, Navojoa 2 (MOC-Ramon Orantes had 3-for-5 night at the plate for Caneros)
Obregon 6, Guasave 2 (OBR-Mark DeFelice pitched 6.2 innings and allowed 2 runs and 4 hits)

Hermosillo 4, Mazatlan 3 (HMO-Freddy Sandoval whacked 3-run homer in 6th inning)
Culiacan 6, Mexicali 5 (CUL-Ruben Rivera clouted game-winning home run in top of 9th entrada)
Los Mochis 5, Navojoa 3 (MOC-Pedro Castellano hit 3-for-5 with 2 runs scored)
Obregon 4, Guasave 3 (OBR-Ryan Spilbourgh went 3-4 with game-winning hit in 10th in debut)

Hermosillo 7, Mazatlan 5 (HMO-Luis Alfonso Garcia hit grand slam in 7th for Naranjeros)
Mexicali 6, Culiacan 5 (MXI-Fernando Valenzuela went 5 innings for 50th career LMP victory)
Navojoa 12, Los Mochis 3 (NAV-Starter Tom Shearn tossed six shutout innings in Mayos win)
Guasave 5, Obregon 3 (GSV-Ignacio Montana held Yaquis to 2 hits and 1 run in 7 innings)

Mazatlan 4, Los Mochis 1 (MAZ-Oscar Bustillos tossed 6.1 innings, allowed 1 run and 6 hits)
Hermosillo 7, Navojoa 5 (HMO-Luis Alfonso Garcia homer in 3rd was game-winning hit)

Los Mochis 4, Mazatlan 2 (MOC-Jasiel Acosta allowed 2 runs with 4 whiffs in 5+ innings)
Hermosillo 6, Navojoa 5 (HMO-Luis Alfonso Garcia 2-run single in top of 9th was game-winner)
Culiacan 9, Guasave 8 (CUL-Adan Amezcua won game with 2-run homer in top of 11th)
Mexicali 10, Obregon 9 (MXI-Derrick White’s 3-run homer keyed Aguilas’ 8-run 8th inning)

Mazatlan 3, Los Mochis 0 (MAZ-Hugo Castellanos tossed 1-hit shutout ball over 7 innings)
Hermosillo 10, Navojoa 8 (HMO-Erubiel Durazo hit grand slam, his 9th homer of season)
Guasave 7, Culiacan 2 (GSV-Spike Lundberg got his 3rd win with complete-game 6-hitter)
Guasave 3, Culiacan 2 (CUL-Ruben Rivera crashed his MexPac-leading 10th homer)
Obregon 2, Mexicali 1 (OBR-Mark DeFelice allowed 1 run, 4 hits in 5+ innings for win)
Obregon 5, Mexicali 4 (OBR-Kit Pellow hit solo homer and 2-run double for Yaquis)

Navojoa at Culiacan, Guasave at Hermosillo, Mexicali at Los Mochis, Mazatlan at Obregon

Hermosillo at Culiacan, Guasave at Mazatlan, Mexicali at Navojoa, Los Mochis at Obregon

by Bruce Baskin, Editor

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