The home run was the big story of week nine in the winter leagues. Manny Ramirez hit number five for Cibaenas, while Arismendy Alcantara drilled his third homer of the winter for Licey in the Dominican League.
Christian Villanueva hit a Grand Slam for Obregon in the Mexican League, and Luis Valbuena went deep in Venezuela.
With all the scores plus All-Star games in the RCPBL and VWL, see what’s inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Dominican Winter League
Cibaenas was poised to regain first place in the DWL after defeating Licey last Sunday 4-3. Manny Ramirez tied the game at three in the sixth inning with his fifth home run of the winter, a solo shot. Ramirez was 1-for-4 in the game.
The Eagles maintained a share of first place on Tuesday even though they lost to Licey 5-3. Manny Ramirez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the loss.
The Aguilas survived a big inning by Escogido on Wednesday to remain in a fight for first place as they beat the Lions 6-5. Frank Batista came on in relief and got Cibaenas out of trouble in the fourth inning. Batista went on to pitch a scoreless inning but was roughed up in the sixth, allowing four runs (three earned) on three hits and a walk. Manny Ramirez went 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
Cibaenas had a chance to regain first place on Friday but fell short as they lost to Oriente 3-1. Manny Ramirez drove in the only run as he was 0-for-3 with a walk.
Estrellas de Oriente
It is still a spirited battle for first place as Estrellas held their ground on Wednesday, beating Licey 9-3. It was a big night for Junior Lake as he went 2-for-2 with a double, a triple, three walks, three runs scored, and two RBI. Luis Flores started at catcher and went 0-for-3 with a run scored.
In a head-to-head match-up on Friday, the Eastern Stars stayed one step ahead of Cibaenas, beating them 3-1. Ivan Pineyro continues to work himself back into shape as he gave up an earned run on three walks and three hits while striking out three in 2.1 innings. Junior Lake remained a contributor on offense as he was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, a stolen base, and two RBI. Marcos Mateo worked around a hit in the ninth to collect his league leading 15th save.
Oriente maintained its tenuous one game lead for first place on Saturday by beating Licey 3-0. Junior Lake struggled a bit and went 0-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts. Luis Flores started at catcher and went 1-for-2 with two walks. Marcos Mateo made sure there was no doubt by striking out two in the ninth for his 16th save.
Leones del Escogido
Escogido tried to pick up the pieces on Friday but came up a little short as they lost to Cibao 4-3. Carlos Pimentel was summoned from the bullpen in the first inning as starter Rafael Montero was waxed for two runs while not recording an out. Pimentel kept the Lions in the game by striking out two while allowing an earned run on five hits and a walk in 3.1 innings.
Tigres del Licey
Licey continues to scrap with the leaders as they beat league leading Cibaenas on Tuesday 5-3. Arismendy Alcantara started in centerfield and was 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored.
The Tigers took aim at the team directly ahead of them in the standings on Friday as they beat Este 3-0. Arismendy Alcantara led off and played centerfield. Alcantara cracked a solo home run in the third inning and was 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.
Mexican Pacific League
Yaquis de Obregon
It was a steady offensive output for Obregon last Monday that put them over the top against Culiacan, winning 6-3. Christian Villanueva started again in left field and basted a solo home run. Villanueva was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
The Yaquis were taken to the woodshed on Tuesday by Culiacan, losing 16-7. However, it was a big night for left fielder Christian Villanueva, as he went 4-for-4 with a grand slam homer in the sixth inning.
The Tribe continued to have trouble with Culiacan on Wednesday, losing 4-2. Christian Villanueva remained in left field and was 1-for-4 in the loss.
A day off on Thursday could not cure Obregon’s offensive woes as they lost 5-1 to Hermosillo on Friday. Christian Villanueva drove in the Yaquis’ only run as he was 1-for-4 with a double while playing left field.
Saturday saw the Yaquis continue to struggle in the second half of the season as they lost to Hermosillo 5-2. Left fielder Christian Villanueva remained constant as he went 1-for-4 in the loss.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
The Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League held their mid-season All-Star game on Saturday. Teams were chosen by captain’s Jesus Feliciano and Luis Figueroa. Both John Andreoli and Jonathan Mota were chosen for Team Feliciano. Mota entered the game in the sixth inning as a pinch-hitter and went 0-for-1 while playing first base. Andreoli came in for the bottom of the sixth as a defensive replacement and went 0-for-2 as the game ended in a 3-3 tie after ten innings.
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Senadores de San Juan
San Juan showed a semblance of an attack last Sunday as they defeated Santurce 5-2. Jonathan Mota was 0-for-4 with a run scored as he split time between third and first base.
On Tuesday, the Senadores exploded late as they beat Carolina 6-2. John Andreoli tied the score at one in the third inning by cracking a solo home run. Andreoli was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Jonathan Mota (1-for-3 with an RBI) also contributed at the plate.
In one of the most embarrassing showings of this winter on Thursday, the Senators were shellacked by Carolina 17-0. San Juan only managed four hits as John Andreoli was 0-for-3 while Jonathan Mota went 0-for-2.
There was more life out of San Juan on Friday, but the results were still the same as they lost to Mayaguez 8-2. John Andreoli was reinstated as the leadoff hitter and went 1-for-4 with a double. Jonathan Mota was 0-for-4 at third base.
Venezuelan Winter League
On Tuesday, the VWL held their All-Star Game between the “Future Stars” and the “LVBP Stars”. The Cubs had two representatives on Estrellas del Futuro, which won the game 8-0. Catcher Willson Contreras entered the game in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement and went 1-for-2. Reliever Loiger Padron retired the only batter he faced.
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Cardenales de Lara
Lara took some steps toward evening their season record last Sunday in a 2-1 victory over Caracas in 10 innings. Luis Valbuena, just beginning his winter participation, started at second base and was 0-for-4 in the game.
With the regular season back in action on Wednesday, the Cardinals blew a 2-1 lead in the ninth and lost to Caracas 6-2. Luis Valbuena remained at second base and was 0-for-4.
The Redbirds continued to scuffle on offense as they lost 7-2 to La Guaira on Thursday. Luis Valbuena was 2-for-4. Eduardo Figueroa relieved starter Romulo Sanchez and got Lara out of the fourth inning.
It was only one big inning for Lara on Friday, but it was enough as they beat Caracas 5-4. Luis Valbuena sparked the comeback with a two-run homer as he went 1-for-4.
The Cards moved to within a game of .500 and gained a game on league leading Anzoategui by beating them 2-1 on Saturday. Luis Valbuena played second base and was 0-for-4 in the win.
Leones del Caracas
Pitching did Caracas in on Thursday as they lost to Aragua 8-4. Loiger Padron did his best to keep the Lions in the game by working around two walks in a scoreless inning.
Navegantes del Magallanes
Magallanes continues to try and pull their way up the standings as they beat league leading Anzoategui 6-2 on Thursday. Newly acquired Jonathan Herrera played second base and was 0-for-4 in the win.
It was an epic struggle on Friday as the Navigators took the lead in the top of the 13th inning only to lose to Anzoategui 6-5. Jonathan Herrera entered the game in the eighth inning at third base and was 0-for-2.
Tiburones de La Guaira
La Guaira weathered a comeback attempt from Magallanes on Wednesday to win 7-6. Joseph Ortiz earned his second victory after stopping a rally in the sixth inning by recording the final two outs and preserving the lead.
The Tiburones were able to make up some ground on their nearest rival in the standings on Saturday by beating Magallanes 4-1. Reliever Joseph Ortiz surrendered a walk in a scoreless inning of work.
Tigres de Aragua
Aragua continued to try and chip away at the league leaders as they beat Zulia last Sunday 3-2 in ten innings. Willson Contreras started at first base and was 0-for-2 with a walk.
News and Notes
The Detroit Tigers signed former Iowa Cubs RHP Alberto Cabrera to a minor league contract.