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Cuba Tops Curacao 8-7 to Finish Caribbean Cup Pool Play

 Matt Tallarini - World Baseball Network  |    Dec 23rd, 2022 9:17am EST

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Cuba closed out pool play the 2022 Caribbean Cup with an 8-7 win against Curacao, giving them a 3-1 record heading into the semifinals after winning a game that saw the two teams trading runs in the early innings.

In the first inning, Cuba got on the board when Yoelkis Guibert drove a two-run home run over the right field fence.  

“I [see]he was throwing breaking balls, and I prepared for that,” Guibert said through an interpreter after the game. “Before we came, we knew there would be a lot of good teams here, and many of those teams have minor league players here, but we prepared hard to be here.”

Curacao answered back an inning later, when Raywedley Van Gurp drove a single to centerfield, scoring Dudley Lenora and Kay-Lan Nicasia to tie the game at two.

Cuba took the lead in the top of the third inning when Guillermo Aviles cracked a single to center field, scoring Guibert to make the score 3-2.  A few batters later, Leonardo Urgelles popped a sacrifice fly to right field, and Aviles came in to score making it 4-2 Cuba.  

Dudley Lenora drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the third, scoring Rayshelon Carolina to make the score 4-3. The next batter, Nicasia, reached on a fielder’s choice off a ground ball to second base, scoring Sherman Lucas to tie the game at four. Van Gurp help Curacao regain the lead once again, driving a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Darren Seferina and giving Curacao a 5-4 lead. Then Raysheandell Michel laced a double to center, bringing home Nicasia and Swindley Lint for 7-4 Curacao lead.

Cuba’s Alexquemer Sanchez drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to 7-5, and shortly thereafter, Urgelles cut Curacao’s lead to one on a sacrifice fly that scored Guibert.

In the top of the sixth, Cuba tied the game up at seven apiece when Yasiel Gonzalez drove a single to left field, with Sanchez coming home to make it 7-7. Cuba regained the lead in the top of the seventh when Gonzalez slapped a single to left field, scoring Sanchez with the winning run. 

Curacao threatened in the bottom of the ninth when Sherman Lacrus drew a lead-off walk to start the inning. Then Darren Serina singled to center to put runners on first and second with no outs.

After walking Shurendell Mujica, Cuban closer Yeudi Reyes found himself in a jam with the bases loaded.  With four pitches, he struck out Swindley looking for the second out of the inning, and Van Gurp grounded out to the shortstop for the final out, giving Cuba the win en route to higher seeding in Saturday’s second round.  

 Second round games for Saturday are slated for 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium.  

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Matt Tallarini - World Baseball Network
Matthew (Matt) Tallarini is the Founder and Chief Correspondent for the World Baseball Network.