2023 Curacao Professional Baseball League Championship Game: Curacao Pinch Hitter Shakir Albert Smacks Game Winning Hit To Beat The Willemstad Cannons 6-5 In First Year Of New Winter League 

(Source: Curacao Professional Baseball)

Matthew Tallarini 

The Curacao Professional Baseball League ended their short season showcase format at Tio Daou Ballpark on Sunday after the Curacao Suns beat the Willemstad Cannons 6-5 from pinch hitter Shakir Albert’s game winning double in the bottom of the seventh inning off of relief pitcher Eric Mendez. 

The 2023 Curacao Professional Baseball League regular season played seven innings during the relaunch of the new league, which was operated by the Federashon Di Beisbol Di Korsou.

In the top of the second inning the Willemstad Cannons got on the board first as first baseman Roderick Bernadina grounded into a 6-4-3 double play as third baseman Juremi Profar came in to score for the first run of the game. 

During the bottom of the second inning, the Curacao Suns tied the game up at one a piece when Rushenten Thomsjansen ripped an infield single to Willemstad Cannons third baseman Profar. Profar dove for the baseball and threw over to first baseman Bernadina as the ball went past Bernadina, Thomsjansen advanced to second base resulting in Curacao Suns left fielder Jackey Josepha coming into score to make it 1-1. 

In the top of the third inning, Suns manager Ghionello Jansen went to his bullpen to call upon relief pitcher Shea Spitzbarth to replace starting pitcher Arlison Rodriguez. Rodriguez threw 2.1 innings allowing five hits, two earned runs, and one walk during the championship game on Sunday. 

A few moments later, The Willemstad Cannons took the lead in the top of the third inning, when Profar lifted a sacrifice fly to left field as center fielder Edmond American came in to score at 2-1. 

During the bottom of the third inning, Cannons manager Carlos Pineda went to the bullpen to call on relief pitcher Marlison Brunken to replace starting pitcher Joshua Barendregt. Barendregt threw two innings, allowed one hit, one earned run, three walks, and struck out five on Sunday.  

In the bottom of the third inning, the Curacao Suns put up four runs starting with first baseman Dudley Lenora smacking a single to left field, scoring shortstop Darren Seferina to tie the game up at 2-2. 

A few batters later, Josepha singled to center field as Leonora came into scoring to take a 3-2 lead. 

The offensive outpour continued in the bottom of the third inning, when catcher Dashenko Ricrado roped a double to left field, scoring Josepha and Thomsjansen to extend the lead to three runs at 5-2. 

During the top of the sixth inning, Cannons catcher Ulrich Snijders doubled to center field as designated Jonathan Martijn and Bernadina came in to score to cut the lead to one run at 5-4. 

In the top of the seventh inning, Martijn came up to the plate with two outs and launched a solo home run over the left field wall to tie the game up at 5-5 off Suns relief pitcher Hershelon Juliana. 

During the bottom of the seventh inning, Leonora led off the inning with a single to left field off of Mendez. 

The next batter, Albert came up to replace designated hitter Donovan Antonia looking to end the game with one swing of the bat as he launched a double to center field scoring Leonora from first base as the Curacao Suns beat the Willemstad Cannons to win the first season of the Curacao Professional Baseball League championship 6-5. 

Juliana received the win out of the bullpen after throwing two innings allowing three hits, one earned run, and striking out two during his performance. 

The Curacao Suns pitching staff combined for allowing 10 hits, five earned runs, three walks, and four strikeouts during Sunday’s championship win. 

Mendez threw 3.1 innings, allowing three hits, one earned run, and five strikeouts during Sunday’s loss. 

The Willemstad Cannons pitching staff allowed seven hits, four earned runs, five walks, and 11 strikeouts on Sunday. 

During the first season of the 2023 Curacao Professional Baseball League, the Willemstad Cannons, Curacao Suns, and Curacao Goats had players that were from Curaçao, Aruba, the Netherlands, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and the United States listed on all three teams rosters. 

The Curaçao National Championship AA League was the highest-level league in the country after and will now serve as a lower level league below the Curacao Professional Baseball League. The A League and Rookie League for Curacao will also be a feeder system for the players on the island to play up at the next level through the Federashon Di Beisbol Di Korsou. 

The Curacao Professional Baseball League will operate as a full season next year rather than a one week showcase. No announcements have been made for the amount of games for the 2024-25 regular season from Federashon Di Beisbol Di Korsou. 

2023 Curacao Professional Baseball League December 3-10 Results 

All games were played at Tio Daou Ballpark

December 3, 2023

Visitor: Curacao Goats 2, Home: Willemstad Cannons 5 

December 4, 2023 

Visitor: Curacao Goats 0, Home: Curacao Suns 7 

December 5, 2023 

Visitor: Willemstad Cannons 8, Home: Curacao Suns 9 

Round 2 

December 6, 2023 

Visitor: Willemstad Cannons 13, Home: Curacao Goats 6 

December 7, 2023 

Visitor: Curacao Goats 0, Home: Curacao Suns 8

December 8, 2023 

Visitor: Curacao Suns 9, Home: Willemstad Cannons 4 

December 9, 2023 – Semifinals 

Visitor 3rd Seed: Curacao Goats 6, Home 2nd Seed: Willemstad Cannons 7 

December 10, 2023 – Championship Game 

Visitor 2nd Seed: Willemstad Cannons 5, Home 1st Seed: Curacao Suns 6 

2023 Curacao Professional Baseball League Standings

Team W

Curacao Suns 3 1

Willemstad Cannons 2 2

Curacao Goats 1 3

Players from the Curacao Professional Baseball League will be eligible to represent Curacao at the 2024 Caribbean Series at loanDepot Park in Miami from February 1-9. 

“The winner of the Curacao Professional Baseball League will be called the Curacao Suns during the 2024 Caribbean Series after winning the championship on Sunday”, President of Federashon Di Beisbol Di Korsou Jedrek Magdalena told World Baseball Network on WhatsApp on Tuesday. 

Curacao will appear in its second Caribbean Series after going 2-5 in pool play at the 2023 event in Caracas, Venezuela with the tournament in its first year of expanding to eight teams. 

Curacao is one of the three invitees of the 2024 Caribbean Series along with Nicaragua and Panama. Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic are part of the Confederación de Béisbol Profesional del Caribe. 

The Dutch island has not had a regular season for their winter league since the Curacao Baseball League participated in the short-running Latin American Series, which was discontinued after 2019.

Curacao only participated in the 2018 Latin American Series, where they went 1-2 prior to their first appearance in the Caribbean Series in 2023. 

The Santa Maria Pirates from the Curacao Professional Baseball League were supposed to participate in the 2019 Latin American Series in Veracruz, Mexico but could not participate due to financial reasons with the league and travel expenses. 

Curacao has not won an international club tournament in the history of their nation. 

Nicaragua will also build their 2024 Caribbean Series official roster from their 2023-24 Liga de Beisbol Profesional Nacional regular season and the winner of their league will not represent their country during the tournament. The Confederación de Béisbol Profesional del Caribe invited the Federación Nicaragüense de Béisbol Asociada to be the representative at the 2024 Caribbean Series.   

Panama will represent the winner of their 2024 ProBeis league regular season for the 2024 Caribbean Series. 

Each player from all seven nations’ rosters will have to be eligible to play as a reinforcement for the 2024 Caribbean Series if they have suited up for any winter league globally during the 2023-24 season to participate in the event. 

Colombia and Cuba will not be in the 2024 Caribbean Series after participating in the 2023 event in Caracas, Venezuela. 

This is the first time that the Caribbean Series will be played at a Major League Baseball stadium in the history of the tournament. Curacao will play the winner of the Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico during the first day of the 2024 Caribbean Series on February 1 at loanDepot Park in Miami at 3:30 p.m. EST on ESPN Deportes.  

With seven teams participating in the 2024 Caribbean Series, Curacao will have the day off on February 4. 

Curacao 2024 Caribbean Series Schedule 

All games at loanDepot Park in Miami 

All games will be televised on ESPN Deportes 

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Curacao vs. Mexico – 3:30 p.m. EST 

Friday, February 2, 2024

Panama vs. Curacao – 10:30 a.m. EST 

Saturday, February 3, 2023 

Venezuela vs. Curacao – 10:30 a.m. EST 

Monday, February 5, 2023 

Nicaragua vs. Curacao – 10:30 a.m. EST 

Tuesday, February 6, 2023 

Curacao vs. Dominican Republic – 3:30 p.m. EST 

Wednesday, February 7, 2023 

Curacao vs. Puerto Rico – 10:30 a.m. EST 

Thursday, February 8, 2023 – Semifinals 

3:00 p.m. EST – Game 1

8:00 p.m. EST – Game 2 

Friday, February 9, 2023 

3:00 p.m. EST – Third-place Game 

8:00 p.m. EST – Championship Game 

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