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CACG: Mexico Advances to Gold Medal Game, D.R. Will Play For Bronze

 Leif Skodnick - World Baseball Network  |    Jul 1st, 2023 8:23am EDT

Central American and Caribbean Games Logo. (Image Courtesy Centro Caribe Sports)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

Venezuela improved to 4-1 at the Central American and Caribbean Games beating host nation El Salvador in extra innings 4-3. 

El Salvador fell to 0-5 at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games. 

The No. 6 nation in the World Baseball Rankings, Venezuela did not get on the board until the bottom of the third when second baseman Derwin Barreto lofted a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring designated hitter Anderson Melendez. 

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Venezuela scored again when El Salvador catcher Carlos De Leon overthrew third baseman Ronald Lopez, and the ball went into left field. Venezuela’s fielder Cesar Ortega scampered home on the error to make it 2-0.

El Salvador starting pitcher Nelson Alfaro threw 3.1 innings, allowing three hits, one earned run, walking one batter, and no strikeouts. 

During the top of the fifth, El Salvador tied the game up at two when designated hitter Charles Monterrosa launched a two-run home run over the left center field wall, scoring first baseman Jose Medina to tie the game at 2-2. 

Venezuela starting pitcher Brayan Salaya got taken out of the game in the top of the fifth inning as he threw 4.1 innings allowing one hit, one earned run, walking no batters, and striking out five. 

The game would remain tied going into the top of the eighth when El Salvador left fielder Wilfredo Jimenez hit a sac fly to right field and Jose Marquez came in to score to go up 3-2. 

In the bottom of the eighth, Venezuela tied the gamewhen third baseman Junnel Ledezma hit a ground ball to El Salvador third baseman Ronald Lopez who did not field the ball cleanly, and Melendez came in to score to tie the game at three. The next batter, first baseman Yoandy Rea, smacked the game-winning RBI single to left field, scoring shortstop Michael Chirinos as Venezuela beat El Salvador 4-3 and improve their record to 4-1. 

Venezuela played 4-1 Mexico later Friday night in their last game of the opening round of the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games.

Cuba eliminates Nicaragua With 8-2 Win 

Cuba improved to 4-2 at the Central American and Caribbean Games with an 8-2 win against Nicaragua, while Nicaragua fell to 2-4. 

Cuba starting pitcher Yoennis Yera received the win, throwing five innings and allowing six hits, two earned runs, walking one, and striking out 10. 

Relief pitchers Yunieski Garcia and Renner Rivero combined for two innings, allowing two hits, no earned runs, one walk, and no strikeouts in Friday’s win. 

Cuba got on the board during the bottom of the first inning when shortstop Barbarao Arruebarruena drew a walk with the bases loaded, sending third baseman Dayan Garcia in to score. 

In the bottom of the second, Cuba center fielder Roel Santos launched a three-run home run over the right field wall, his third home run of the Central American and Caribbean Games, scoring left fielder Yurisbel Gracial and catcher Andrys Perez to go up 4-0. 

Nicaragua would cut the lead in half during the top of the third when third baseman Benjamin Alegria roped an RBI single through the left side of the infield, scoring Jacksell Mairena to make it 4-1. The next batter, first baseman Elian Miranda, doubled down the left field line, scoring Juan Diego Montes to make it 4-2. 

Nicaragua starter Leonardo Crawford threw three innings, allowing five hits, four earned runs, walking two batters, and striking out one. 

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Cuba tacked on three more runs, starting when second baseman Yadil Mujica hit an infield single to third base that scored Yurisbel Gracial, extending the lead to 5-2. Then Garcia blew the game wide open when he ripped a two-run single to right center field, scoring Perez and Santos to make it a 7-2 ballgame.

Nicaragua’s bullpen gave up six hits, two earned runs, and one walk during Friday’s 8-2 loss. 

Cuba will face Venezuela in the final opening round game at 12 p.m. EDT on Saturday. 

Nicaragua is eliminated from the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games and will not qualify for the 2023 Pan American Games. They finished third at the 2019 tournament in Lima, Peru, beating Colombia. 

Dominican Republic beats Curacao 10-0 to advance to Bronze Medal Game

The Dominican Republic (4-2) advanced to the bronze medal game at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games with a 10-0 win over Curacao Friday. 

Curacao (3-3) is out of contention to medal and won’t qualify for the 2023 Pan American Games. 

Dominican Republic starting pitcher Jose Molina threw 5.1 innings, allowing seven hits, walking two batters, and striking out five. 

In the bottom of the fifth, the Dominican Republic finally got on the board when third baseman Carlos Jimenez’s infield single scored Seully Matias. 

A few batters later, second baseman Luis Valenzuela roped a two-run single to left field and Jimenez and center fielder Ricardo Cespedes came in to score to make it 3-0. During the play, a throwing error by left fielder Ericson Leonora allowed Adrian Valerio to score and make 4-0. 

Curacao starting pitcher Jordan Lucas threw 4.2 innings, allowing five hits, five earned runs, walking two batters, and striking out one. The next batter, Carlos Paulino, ripped an RBI single to left field, scoring Valenzuela. Then Dominican Republic left fielder Wildert Pujols launched a two-run home run over the right field wall, and it was 7-0. 

The Dominican Republic remains alive in the Central American and Caribbean Games, and will play in the Bronze Medal game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against the loser of Venezuela and Cuba. 

Curacao is officially eliminated for medaling at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games and a berth for the 2023 Pan American Games. 

Mexico Finishes Opening Round With 11-1 Win Vs. Venezuela

Mexico (5-1) finished in first place in the opening round of the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games, beating Venezuela (4-2) 11-1 in five innings on Friday.

Mexico starter Wilmer Rios threw five innings, allowing five hits, one earned run, no walks, and striking out two during the final game of the Opening Round. 

Venezuela starting pitcher Sonny Vargas did not record an out in the top of the first inning, allowing two hits, one earned run, and walked one, and was tagged with the loss. The Venezuela bullpen totaled five innings, allowing nine hits, eight earned runs, walking 11, and striking out one during Friday’s loss. 

Mexico left fielder Norberto Obeso went 2-for-2, scoring two runs, walking once and one RBI.  First baseman Victor Mendoza recorded three hits in four at-bats, scoring one run and one RBI. 

Third baseman Jesus Avila went 2-for-4 with three RBI and scored twice, while right fielder Fernando Villegas also went 2-for-5 with an RBI, scoring twice, and walking once. 

Mexico will qualify for the 2023 Pan American Games in Chile in October and earned a berth in the gold medal game at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games. 

Mexico will play in the gold medal game on Saturday at 8 p.m. EDT at Parque De Pelota Saturnino Bengoa in San Salvador against the winner of Cuba and Venezuela. 

Venezuela will play Cuba in the final opening round game at 12 p.m. EDT, and the winner will earn a spot for the 2023 Pan American Games. The loser of Venezuela and Cuba will play in the bronze medal game against the Dominican Republic at 3:30 p.m. EDT. 

The baseball event at the 2023 Pan American Games will be from October 21-27 at the Baseball and Softball Center in Cerrillos, Chile. Three nations have already qualified for the 2023 Pan American Games: Chile, as the host nation; Colombia, for placing first in the 2021 Junior Pan American Games; and Brazil, for placing first in the 2022 South American Championships.

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Leif Skodnick - World Baseball Network