The Undercards: Cantu’s 5 RBIs and Henry Wrigley’s Solo Homer Lead Their Teams to Victory
By Robbie Knopf
Always satisfying to be the hero. Doing it with a clutch home run just makes it even better.
Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 3, Leones del Escogido 2
Omar Luna, starting at second base this time around for Cibaenas, had a good game, going 1 for 2 with a stolen base. He’s still hitting just .235 on the DWL season, but he’s starting to make progress. Manny Ramirez went 0 for 3 for the Aguilas while Julio Lugo went 0 for 2 after entering as a pinch-hitter for Escogido but did have an RBI.
Gigantes del Cibao 7, Toros del Este 4
Rhyne Hughes, batting cleanup for Cibao, turned in a nice game, going 1 for 3 with 2 walks and a run scored. Hughes is hitting just .261 on the season, but his OBP is .400 as he has a nice 27-20 strikeout to walk ratio. Jhonny Nunez worked around a hit and a walk in the 9th to record his 7th save for Cibao.
Estrellas de Oriente 5, Tigres del Licey
Braulio Lara is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft and considering his stuff is electric, a strong performance this winter could tempt a big league team to give him a shot next year. Job not accomplished in this game as he faced three batters, walking 2 of them, and the reliever behind him allowed a 3-run homer so he ended up with 2 earned runs allowed.
Mexican Pacific League: Naranjeros de Hermosillo 10, Yaquis de Obregon 9
This game was crazy as Obregon led 5-0 before Hermosillo tied the game with a 5-run 6th and then took the lead with a 2-run 7th. Obregon went back into the lead with a 3-run 8th, but Hermosillo responded in equal measure in the bottom of the inning before the Yaquis got just 1 run in the 9th to lose 10-9. Jorge Cantu was a major reason the Naranjeros came back, going 2 for 3 and making the two really count: a 3-run shot in the 6th that pulled Hermosillo within a run and then the 2-run single in the 7th that gave them their first lead. Cantu has 3 homers and 10 RBI in his last 4 games. Iker Franco also homered for Obregon, going 1 for 3 with the homer and a walk in the game.
Mayos de Navojoa 5, Algodoneros de Guasave 1
Wes Bankston has had some struggles for the Mayos but whenever you think he’s running out of gas, he responds with another great game. Bankston went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles and a walk in this one and has an outstanding .308/.383/.497 line in 163 plate appearances on the MPL season.
Venezuelan Winter League: Navegantes de Magallanes 14, Cardelanes de Lara
Leslie Anderson finally got a start for Magallanes, in the cleanup spot no less, but was probably the fourth-most valuable current and former Ray in this game alone. Chris Nowak went 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored, Jean Machi went 2 shutout innings, and even Erold Andrus went 0 for 3 but with 2 walks. Anderson went 1 for 5 with a run scored. Andrus is on a very interesting run of late, going just 4 for 24 (.167) in his last 7 games but walking 6 times versus 3 strikeouts. You could say he’s on a “walking tear.”
Leones de Caracas 1, Aguilas del Zulia 0
Seeing 1-0 games has to remind you of Rays baseball, right? Henry Wrigley slammed a 4th inning to hand Caracas a win and Austin Bibens-Dirkx an extremely Rays-esque loss as he had a marvelous game, going 6 innings allowing just 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 10 while walking 1. Caracas had 6 hits total in the game, three by former Rays prospects as Wrigley went 2 for 4 and Daniel Mayora went 1 for 3. Mayora also had an outfield assist at home plate at home plate in the 3rd inning that turned out to be game-saving. Ryan Reid also tossed a scoreless top of 9th for Zulia, working around a hit with a strikeout. Wrigley’s homer was his 10th, tied for the most in the VWL- but his 35-10 strikeout to walk ratio won’t cut it.