With the start of a New Year, the playoffs in the winter leagues are now in full swing. While in losing efforts, the organization received excellent pitching performances out of Ty’Relle Harris and Ryan Searle this past week, while infielders Diory Hernandez and Luis Valbuena stayed on a roll.
As a note to readers, please stay with us until the very end, as a special announcement from the CCO follows the article.
Note: Coverage of the winter leagues will be by calendar week, Sunday through Saturday
Dominican Winter League
Toros del Este
The Bulls, the last squad to make the playoffs in the DWL, have since become the surprise team. Diory Hernandez came up big last Sunday and went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored as Este defeated Escogido 6-1. Jeffry Antigua pitched 0.2 scoreless innings, struck out a batter and earned a hold.
Toros returned from the holiday break in splendid fashion with an 8-3 win over Cibaenas on Wednesday. Diory Hernandez was only 0-for-2, but drew a walk, scored a run, and drove in a run.
It would take 12 innings to finally stop the Herd on Thursday, as Estrellas earned their first post-season victory 5-4. Diory Hernandez was 2-for-5 with a double in the loss.
On Friday, Alberto Cabrera was tapped to start for Este and he wound up the loser to Estrellas in a 3-2 game. Cabrera allowed two earned runs over five innings while walking three and striking out three. Jeffry Antigua walked the only batter he faced, while Diory Hernandez went 0-for-1 with a walk.
Estrellas de Oriente
The struggles for the Eastern Stars continued into the New Year as wins became hard to come by. The week started off badly last Sunday, as Oriente fell in 11 innings 4-3 to Cibaenas. Junior Lake lined up in left field and was 1-for-3 with a walk and stole his third base of the playoffs. Nelson Perez went 0-for-2 after coming in as a pinch hitter and staying in at DH. Rafael Dolis picked up a blown save. Dolis gave up an earned run in an inning of work while striking out two batters.
When play resumed for Estrellas on Wednesday, things didn’t get any better as they were shut out 5-0 by Escogido. Junior Lake was also shut down … Lake went 0-for-3 in the contest.
A win finally came the Stars’ way on Thursday as they took 12 innings to defeat Este 5-4. Junior Lake was 2-for-5 and drove in a run, while Nelson Perez was 0-3 as the DH. Rafael Dolis walked the only batter he faced.
Oriente made it two in a row on Friday as left fielder Junior Lake was 0-for-3 in a 3-2 win over Este.
However, the streak would not last as the Stars were on the wrong end of a 3-2 score, losing to Escogido on Saturday. Junior Lake (1-for-4) doubled and drove in a run as the DH for Estrellas.
Mexican Pacific League
Venados de Mazatlan
Jay Jackson was roughed up a bit in his first taste of playoff action on Thursday. Jackson pitched only 1.2 innings and allowed five earned runs as Mazatlan lost 7-1 to Mexicali. Jackson walked three, struck out a batter and was hung with the loss.
Yaquis de Obregon
In a tense match-up to open the playoffs, Esmailin Caridad came through with a clutch performance in relief to help defeat Guasave 3-2 on Wednesday. Caridad struck out two and walked a batter in 1.1 scoreless innings. Caridad was credited with the win.
Esmailin Caridad then did his best to keep the Yaquis in the game on Saturday, but they ended up losing 5-3 to Guasave. Caridad came on in the ninth and struck out two batters in a scoreless inning.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Gigantes de Carolina
The Giants staggered into the playoffs with a losing record as they dropped their final regular season game 2-1 to Caguas last Sunday. Justin Bour was 0-for-4 in the contest.
With the playoffs beginning on Wednesday, Carolina got off on the wrong foot as they were shut out 9-0 by league leading Caguas.Justin Bour went 1-for-4 while picking up the start at first base.
Ty’Relle Harris took the mound on Thursday and pitched a dandy. Harris did not receive any run support as the G-men lost their third straight to Caguas, this time 4-3. Harris struck out three batters in seven innings and allowed only two runs (one earned). Justin Bour went 1-for-4 with a double and drove in a run.
It seemed to be more of the same on Friday as Justin Bour went 1-for-3 with a walk as Carolina lost 6-2 to Mayaguez.
AsJustin Bour announced that Saturday would be his last game in Puerto Rico, he went out in style as the Giants beat Mayaguez 7-2. Bour went 2-for-4 with a walk, a double and two RBI.
Venezuelan Winter League
Bravos de Margarita
The Braves finished the season on a down note by losing 10-8 to Caracas last Sunday. However, 18-year old outfielder Arnaldo Calero showed some future promise with a 2-for-4 performance that included a two-run home run.
Cardenales de Lara
Infielder Luis Valbuena seemed to run out of gas as the regular season came to a close last Sunday. Valbuena went 0-for-4 with an RBI as the Cardinals beat Aragua 5-3.
Luis Valbuena appeared to be back in the swing of things on Wednesday after getting a couple of days off. Valbuena was 1-for-5 with a run scored as Lara opened the playoff with a 10-5 loss to Magallanes.
The fortunes turned around for the Redbirds on Thursday as they beat Anzoategui 6-1. Luis Valbuena went 1-for-4 in the victory.
It took extra innings for Caracas to defeat Lara on Friday as they edged the Cards 6-5 in ten innings. Luis Valbuena (1-for-5) drove in a run.
Luis Valbuena was part of a great offensive explosion by Lara in Saturday in a 13-6 defeat over Zulia. Valbuena went 2-for-4 with a walk and scored two runs.
Caribes de Anzoategui
While the Caribes ended the regular season with a 10-5 win over Magallanes, Johermyn Chavez staggered to the finish. Chavez went 1-for -5 with a run scored and ended up hitting .212 in 33 games for Anzoategui and Magallanes.
Leones de Caracas
Reliever Loiger Padron helped round out the regular season for the Lions by striking out a batter in 0.2 scoreless innings as Caracas defeated Margarita10-8 on Sunday.
Australian Baseball League
It was a valiant effort by Ryan Searle on Saturday, but he received no support from his teammates as the Bandits lost 2-0 to Melbourne. Brisbane managed only four hits against the Aces while Searle allowed only two earned runs over eight innings. Ryan Searle struck out five and walked no one in the loss.
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Attention CCO Readers
The Down on the Farm reader’s poll is now beginning. Please post the names of the minor league players you would like the Down on the Farm Report to follow next season. The CCO will track the progress of ten players throughout the entire season. A representative sample of positions and levels of play is optimal. You can name as many players as you like, but remember, only ten will be chosen. Last year, readers nominated 70 separate players and cast 236 votes. So from Luis Acosta to Tony Zych, all nominations will be accepted and given equal weight.
Once a list is compiled of the top 20 vote getters, a poll will be placed on the site to cut the list in half.