By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The 5th Caribbean Cup started its first day on Monday at Estadio Concepcion Perez Alberto in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, after being rained out on Sunday, and World No. 8 Cuba beat the United States Virgin Islands 11-1 in six innings due to the mercy rule.
All the 2023 Caribbean Cup games will be seven innings.
The United States Virgin Islands pitching staff threw 5.1 innings, allowing five hits, 10 earned runs, walking 12 batters, and striking out four in Monday’s loss.
Cuba starting pitcher Yoennis Yera threw four innings with 61 pitches, allowing two hits, one earned run, and struck out nine.
Cuba relief pitcher Renner Rivero picked up the win, pitching the top of the fifth and striking out two batters.
“I feel so good and physically I have been training for this and all the other pitchers are in the same situation, were ready to play, happy about playing in this tournament along with playing in the Pan American Games in Chile,” Yera told World Baseball Network following the game.
Cuba is using the Caribbean Cup prepare for the Pan American Games, as well as giving players an opportunity to seek professional contracts to play in other leagues around the world this winter league season and next year.
“Cuba hasn’t had the chance to travel that much, and to have that opportunity, we’re going to feel very excited to give it our all,” Cuba manager Armando Johnson said in Spanish. “This is a great opportunity for us to show what we have, and we are very excited to be able to do that. I feel very confident that the players will get professional contracts to play elsewhere in the world.”
The Pan American Games baseball tournament from October 18-28 in Santiago, Chile.
United States Virgin Islands starting pitcher Roberto Soto did not have good control, walking the first five batters he faced. Soto was pulled by manager Rafael Jackson after 39 pitches in the second inning, throwing one inning allowing one hit, five earned runs, walking six batters, and striking out one.
In the bottom of the first inning, Cuba got on the scoreboard when first baseman Yasniel Gonzalez drew a bases-loaded walk to score center fielder Roel Santos.
The next batter, shortstop Errisbel Arrubaerena drew a bases-loaded walk of his own, scoring designated hitter Roberto Barboquin to extend the lead to 2-0.
The following batter, third baseman Dayan Garcia, hit a three-run double to right center field over the head of United States Virgin Islands right fielder Terrel Geage, scoring left fielder Yurisbel Gracial, Gonzalez, and Arruabarrena, and Cuba opened the flood gates.
The United States Virgin Islands got on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning when first baseman Conroy Samuel singled up the middle, scoring third baseman Jamoy Percival and make it 5-1.
The United States Virgin Islands pitching staff gave up five hits, 10 earned runs, allowing 12 walks, and four strikeouts during the 11-1 rout.
Cuba ended the game in the sixth inning during center fielder Luis Alvarez’s at-bat when right fielder Carlos Moiner came in to score on a wild pitch to end the game at 11-1 via the mercy rule.
Garcia ended the day with one hit, three RBI, and one walk.
Cuba catcher Andrys Perez led the team with two hits in his three-at bats.
Santos and Gracila both had three walks during Monday’s win.
Arrubaerena had three RBI and one walk in the first game of the Caribbean Cup.
Cuba will be the visitor on Tuesday against Curacao starting at 3:30 p.m. EDT at Parque Beisbol Doble-A Emilio Huyuke Las Piedras, Puerto Rico. The United States Virgin Islands will play Puerto Rico at 7:30 p.m at Parque Beisbol Doble-A Emilio Huyuke Las Piedras, Puerto Rico.
All games will be streamed on https://r1live.com/ with a paid subscription.