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10/16/2006 Archived Entry: "VIVA BEISBOL: Mazatlan opens season with five straight wins"

by Bruce Baskin


After a disappointing performance in last February’s Caribbean Series, the Mazatlan Venados look like a team on a mission in the early going of the new Mexican Pacific League season, winning their first five games against rival Culiacan in opening week action.

The Venados are seeking a third straight MexPac pennant and some redemption after going 0-6 in the 2006 CS after winning the event a year earlier in Mazatlan. The Deer won last Wednesday’s opener 10-5 in a matchup of pitchers with identical names, as Miguel Gonzalez of Mazatlan bested the Tomateros’ Miguel Angel Gonzalez. In other opening games, Hector Garanzuay belted a pair of homers to lead Los Mochis to a 10-3 drubbing of Guasave; Brian Barden’s roundtripper paced Hermosillo’s 10-4 win over Mexicali; and Jesse Gutierrez blasted a grand slam to provide the difference in Navojoa’s 9-5 win over Obregon.

One highlight of first week play was the three-homer night for Los Mochis’ Christian Quintero in the Caneros’ 3-0 win over Navojoa. Quintero launched solo shots in the first, sixth and eighth innings to account for the only runs in the game by either squad. Another strong night of work was registered Saturday by Hermosillo’s Salvador Arellano, who tossed eight no-hit innings in the Naranjeros’ 5-0 whitewash of Mexicali.

One outing that can’t be called a “highlight” was the return of pitcher Spike Lundberg to the Guasave Algodoneros. Lundberg, who set the LMP on its ear last season by leading the circuit with nine wins and a 2.23 ERA, had a tough go of it Thursday night against Obregon, allowing six runs in a 9-5 loss to the Yaquis. Last winter, Lundberg suffered no losses against Obregon.

The Angelopolis Tigres are moving from Puebla to Cancun for the 2007 season, it was announced last week. The move will be the second shift for the Tigres since the turn of the 21st century. After spending over 40 seasons in Mexico City, the Tigres moved to Puebla a few years ago, where they shared the ballpark with the Puebla Pericos. Angelopolis is a nickname for Puebla, which is known in Mexico as the “City of Angels.” They wll have Cancun all to themselves.

Cancun was without a Mexican League team in 2006 after the devastation by Hurricane Wilma last year including a sever battering of Beto Avila Park, forcing the Cancun Langosteros to move out of town. The ballpark will receive a facelift costing about 20 million pesos, while the team (which will be called the Quintana Roo Tigres) will receive a generous subsidy from the state government to cover operating expenses through the next four seasons, the length of the Tigres’ lease in Cancun.

The semipro Border Baseball Series will be back for another season next year. BBS founder Bob Lipp, a longtime independent baseball figure who founded the Arizona-Mexico League, will oversee the binational series, featuring the Bisbee Kings, Cananea Mineros, Arizona Diamondjaxx, Nogales Diablos, Arizona Clash and Tucson Stars. BBS teams will play home-and-away doubleheaders against each Series opponent in June and July of next year for a total of 20 games each. Lipp is hoping to align the Series with the National Baseball Congress in order to send the BBS champion to the NBC World Series next August in Wichita, Kansas. Bisbee won the 2006 title with a 15-4 record.

5-0 Mazatlan Venados
4-1 Los Mochis Caneros
3-2 Obregon Yaquis
3-2 Mexicali Aguilas
2-3 Hermosillo Narajeros
2-3 Navojoa Mayos
1-4 Guasave Algodoneros
0-5 Culiacan Tomateros

Tuesday, October 10
Los Mochis 10, Guasave 3 (MOC-Hector Garanzuay hit 2 HRs)
Navojoa 9, Obregon 5 (NAV-Jesse Gutierrez hit a grand slam HR)
Hemosillo 10, Mexicali 4 (HMO-Brian Barden hit a HR)

Wednesday, October 11
Mazatlan 10, Culiacan 5 (MAZ-Miguel Gonzalez outpitched Culiacan’s Miguel Angel Gonzalez)
Los Mochis 5, Guasave 1 (MOC-Bryan LaHair and Ramon Orantes hit HRs)
Obregon 6, Navojoa 2 (OBR-Iker Franco and Carlos Valencia hit HRs)

Thursday, October 12
Mazatlan 4, Culiacan 3 (MAZ-Pablo Ortega allowed 3 runs in 6 innings pitched)
Mexicali 10, Hermosillo 7 (MXI-Jesus Castillo hit a HR in 4-run sixth inning)

Friday, October 13
Mazatlan 3, Culiacan 1 (MAZ-Hugo Castellanos pitched 5 shutout innings)
Navojoa 7, Los Mochis 2 (NAV-Oscar “Perfecto” Rivera allowed 2 runs and 4 hits in 6 IP)
Mexicali 7, Hermosillo 4 (MXI-Howie Clark hit his first HR of the season)
Obregon 9, Guasave 5 (OBR-Augie Murillo hit a grand slam HR)

Saturday, October 14
Mazatlan 6, Culiacan 2 (MAZ-Ryan Doumit hit HR, Andy Sisco combined with 2 others for win)
Los Mochis 3, Navojoa 0 (MOC-Christian Quintero hit 3 HRs)
Hermosillo 5, Mexicali 0 (HMO-Salvador Arellano pitched 8 no-hit innings)
Obregon 7, Guasave 2 (OBR-Carlos Valencia hit second HR of season)

Sunday, October 15
Mazatlan 5, Culiacan 4 (MAZ-Flavio Romero HR and Ray Sadler RBI single in bottom of 9th)
Los Mochis 9, Navojoa 8 (MOC-Hector Garanzuay went 2-5 with 3rd HR and 3 RBIs)
Mexicali 7, Hermosillo 6 (MXI-Octavio Sandoval hit GWRBI single in bottom of 11th inning)
Guasave 9, Obregon 2 (GUA-Mario Valdez conked 2 HRs, tied with Garanzuay for LMP lead)

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

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

The state of Tabasco is in southern Mexico, bordered to the east by the state of Campeche and Guatemala, the state of Chiapas to the south, Oaxaca to the west and the Gulf of Mexico to the north. Tabasco and Villahermosa were largely ignored during Mexico’s turbulent history over the centuries, but the development of oil drilling changed all that and resulted in the state capital of Villahermosa (which means “beautiful town”) becoming a city.

Over 3,000 years ago, Tabasco was the center of the Olmec culture, which is considered by many archeologists as the mother culture of Mesoamerica. Hernando Cortes landed at the mouth of the Rio Grijalva in 1519 and easily conquered the native Mayans, but found raiding pirates more difficult to deal with and moved inland to what is now Villahermosa.

The Tabasco region was fairly untouched during the colonial period because the Spaniards found the steamy, insect-ridden jungle climate less than hospitable, and Tabasco was largely bypassed during former president Porfirio Diaz’ industrialization efforts in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Oil was discovered in the 1930’s, but wasn’t fully exploited until the 1970’s.

Nowadays, the oil boom has led to tremendous growth in Tabasco and Villahermosa, which is now a metropolis of over 500,000 residents. While one would be hard-pressed to call Villahermosa a “beautiful town,” it is not without its charms. The nearby Olmec site of La Venta was discovered by oil drillers years ago and is now a popular park with a zoo. In the city itself, the impressive CICOM complex includes a concert hall, theater, museum, research library and a restaurant. The Carlos Pellicer Regional & Anthropological Museum has four levels, and is very popular with visitors. Tourism is only beginning to take hold in Villahermosa, but it is still very much an oil industry-driven city.

Villahermosa is home to the Tabasco Olmecas baseball club, named after the original inhabitants of the region. The Olmecas play their home games at Parque Centenario 27 de Febrero, which seats 10,500 fans.

Due to a request from the Mexican Pacific League office, we will be producing a column on a weekly basis throughout the Mex Pac season for their website. As a result, this newsletter will also be sent out every Monday, which is historically a travel day in Mexican baseball. While this means a reduction in pages from eight to four, it also means you will be receiving more frequent updates during the season. and will also continue to carry VB regularly. Thanks for understanding.

Also, our website will be shutting down THIS WEEK, so if there’s any information you’d like to keep from it, you should download it by Friday.

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