NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Curacao qualified for the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador, defeating their hosts, the Bahamas, in the consolation game of the 2022 Caribbean Cup at Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium in Nassau.

The game was a pitcher’s duel in the early innings.

Through 4 2/3 innings, neither team had a hit until left fielder Rayshelon Carolina of Curacao drove a single to center field in the bottom half of the fifth. In a first and third situation, Curacao tried a cat-and-mouse play to sneak a run across. But when Bahamas starter Giovante Tomlins stepped off to deceive the runners, he looked to second and then threw the ball to third base, cutting down Carolina for the final out of the third inning.  

The Bahamas would get their first hit of the game in the top of the sixth whenWarren Saunders led off with a single to left field.  A few batters later, D’Shawn Knowles put the Bahamas on the board, driving the ball over the left field wall over the foul pole. 

It was a controversial call. The umpiring crew discussed the play and the call stood – home run. The Curacao coaching staff and reserve players stormed out of the dugout to argue the call, and three members of the Curacao ball club — first base coach Franklin Confesor, pitching coach Dennis Neuman, and pitcher Zarich Daal — were ejected from the game for disputing the home run call. 

In the bottom of the six inning, Curacao got on the board when Ortwin Vargas drove a double to left center, scoring Darren Seferina and Raysheandell Michel to tie the game up at two. During Shurendell Mujica’s at bat, Vargas scored on a wild pitch for a 3-2 Curacao lead. One pitch later, Mujica’s sacrifice fly scored Aldair Daal.

Controversy returned in the top half of the eighth. The Bahamas’ Warren Saunders drove a single to right center. Center fielder Sherman Lacrus dove for the ball, and it hit his glove. He threw to second, and as Warren Saunders thought he’d caught the ball, he returned back to second, and with no tag being applied, he was ruled safe. After a discussion, the umpires confirmed the call, and manager Hainley Statia for Curacao would get ejected, along with four of his staff members.

Curacao starter Nelmerson Angela took the mound in the ninth inning looking to go the distance, and got Adari Grant to pop up to shortstop for the final out of the game. Angela allowed six hits, two earned runs, walked none and struck out 10 in a complete game.

“We came with the goal to win the championship, and we didn’t get that,” Angela said. “But we’re going home with another accomplishment, to go to the Central American and Caribbean Games.”

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