The Undercards: Henry Mateo Caps Off Huge Day With Walk-off Single as Mazatlan Edges Mexicali
By Robbie Knopf
Sometimes you just have it- and when you do, the other team’s worst nightmare is for the game to be on the line when you come to the plate. Mateo gave the Aguilas de Mexicali more nightmares on Sunday night, drilling a walk-off single to tie the best-of-seven series between Mexicali and Mazatlan at two games apiece.
Dominican Winter League Postseason: Aguilas Cibaenas 11, Estrellas de Oriente 4
Hector Luna became the Aguilas Cibaenas’ 3-hole hitter by performance, hitting .303 with 7 home runs on the Dominican Winter League season. Manny Ramirez, on the other hand, is the Aguilas’ cleanup hitter more by reputation than anything else after just a decent season in the DWL. In any event, both players, each of whom was a Ray for only a brief time, were clicking on all cylinders as Cibaenas blew out Oriente. Luna went 1 for 4 with a double, a walk, 2 RBI, and a run scored Ramirez went 2 for 3 with a walk and an RBI. Ramirez is certainly living up to his billing this postseason for the Aguilas, hitting .382, while Cibaenas has to hope Luna is getting ready to break out as he’s hitting just .135. Another ex-Rays player, Ray Olmedo, was Oriente’s leadoff hitter and had a great game, going 3 for 5 with a stolen base, an RBI, and a run scored, but his teammates couldn’t give him enough help as Cibaenas won handily.
Mexican Pacific League Playoffs: Venados de Mazatlan 1, Aguilas de Mexicali 0
After going up 2-0 in their best-of-seven series with the Venados, Mexicali had to feeling awfully good about themselves. But the past two games, everything has fallen apart, with Henry Mateo being the primary culprit. With this one scoreless in the bottom of the 9th, Mateo stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and 2 outs (if the bases weren’t loaded, they probably would have walked him) and sent Mazatlan fans home with a sense of exhilaration, lacing a walk-off single to end the game as the Venados won 1-0. Mateo essentially was the Mazatlan offense, going 3 for 5 with a stolen base and that one enormous RBI. Wes Bankston had a good game in the loss for Mexicali, going 1 for 2 with 2 walks, but he’s the only Aguilas player hitting, with his batting average coming in at .400 and no other Aguila hitting as high as .270. Jon Weber went 0 for 3 with a walk for Mexicali.
Tomateros de Culiacan 7, Naranjeros de Hermosillo 2
This loss completes a Culiacan sweep, and the Naranjeros can’t believe a promising season ended like this. This one was especially bad as 5 of the Tomateros’ 7 runs were unearned. Jorge Cantu went 1 for 3 with a walk and Humberto Cota went 1 for 4, but it wasn’t enough as Hermosillo lost the game and the series.
Algodoneros de Guasave 7, Yaquis de Obregon 5
This is shaping up to be another great series as Guasave’s win tied it at 2 games apiece. Nice games by a trio of ex-Rays went in vain for Obregon as Juan Miranda homered for the second straight game, Iker Franco went 1 for 3 with a walk, and Jesus Colome worked around a walk with a strikeout in a shutout relief inning. Obregon nearly came back from a 6-1 deficit, but a 1 for 11 performance with runners in scoring position doomed their hopes.
Venezuelan Winter League Postseason: Leones de Caracas 12, Caribes de Anzoategui 1
One side had a lot of fun in this one. The Leones slammed 4 home runs including 2 by Yorvit Torrealba, who also drove in 5 and scored 3 runs. Ex-Rays minor leaguer Daniel Mayora went 2 for 4 with a homer, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored for Caracas while Cesar Suarez went 1 for 2 with the only run scored for Anzoategui. Mayora, ironically receiving his first regular playing time of the season after backing up fellow ex-Ray and former Durham Bulls teammate Henry Wrigley most of the VWL season, has come through in a major way in the playoffs for Caracas, hitting .385.