By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The Cuban Professional Baseball Federation beat the Houston Apollos 2-0 at Alex Rodriguez at Mark Light Fight on the campus of the University of Miami.
Sweetwater, Fla., Mayor Jose “Pepe” Diaz and 1997 World Series Most Valuable Player and Cuban-born former Major Leaguer Livan Hernandez threw out the first pitch on Monday prior to the start of the second exhibition game for FEPCUBE.
The Houston Apollos of the Western League were going to play at the 2024 Intercontinental Series before the event was called off by Team Renteria.
Houston Apollos starting pitcher Edilson Alvarez threw three innings, allowing two earned runs, four hits, and four strikeouts.
Former MLB pitcher Jose Contreras started the second exhibition game for FEPCUBE and retired the side in order in the first with three ground ball outs.
Odrisamer Despagine came into the game in the top of the second inning and allowed an infield single to Houston Apollos designated hitter Jordan Anderson and struck out second baseman Aaron Stubbfield to end the inning with no harm done.
In the bottom of the second inning, last minute FEPCUBE call-up left fielder Leonys Martin launched a solo home run over the right field wall for the first run of the game.
During the bottom of the third inning, FEPCUBE added another run when catcher Edgar Quero roped a single to right field, scoring second baseman Luis Medina to extend the lead to 2-0.
FEPCUBE’s pitching staff was stingy the rest of the way during the shutout win on Monday night, allowing four hits, four walks, and striking out eight batters.
FEPCUBE relief pitcher Raidel Orta got Apollo’s catcher Peter Pena to ground out to shortstop Yordys Valdes, who threw the ball to Medina at second base to record the final out of the game as FEPCUBE beat the Houston Apollos 2-0.
FEPCUBE played their first exhibition game on the campus of Miami-Dade College’s baseball field against the Miami-Dade College Sharks and beat the college program 3-2.
FEPCUBE changed their team name slogan for “Patria y Vida” to “Dream Team” due to the political conflicts from the El Ministerio de Deportes de Colombia and the Colombia Olympic Committee, Francys Romero of beisbolfr.com reported on Jan. 9. The FEPCUBE team announced the change on Jan. 13, through all their social media pages.
Three days later, FEPCUBE reported on their social media channels that they had received a communication from Team Renteria, the organizer of the 2024 Intercontinental Series, that the event scheduled for late January has been canceled.
Brayan Pena is the manager for the FEPCUBE team and Mandy Llanes is the president of FEPCUBE. Former MLB Cuban born pitcher Orlando Hernandez is the vice president and general manager of FEPCUBE, which has no relationship to the Federacion Cubana de Beisbol or the Cuban government.
“For us, it’s a great opportunity to showcase the talent that we have, the Cuban professional players that are independent that are here in the United States. FEPCUBE is here to put together a group of people that care that want to help other ball players that might be stranded in a third world country or might not have an opportunity with a professional contract and to see how we can help them long term”, Llanes told World Baseball Network after the game.
The FEPCUBE team held their training camp for the Intercontinental Series at Miami-Dade College North Campus’s baseball field this month.
The 2024 Intercontinental Series was supposed to happen at Estadio Edgar Renteria in Barranquilla, Colombia from Jan. 26 through Feb. 1.
Among the teams that were supposed to participate at the 2024 Intercontinental Series were the 2023-24 champion Caimanes de Barranquilla of the Liga Profesional De Béisbol Colombia and the Willemstad Cannons, who took second place in the 2023 Curacao Professional Baseball League.
The other teams that were supposed to participate at the 2024 Intercontinental Series teams were the Nihonkai Baseball League in Japan and the Western League from the United States, an independent league that would have built their roster with players from their league and the Pecos League based in the Southwest region of the United States.
The Gyeonggi-do Baseball Softball Association in South Korea’s Gyeonggi Province Independent League was slated to be the other participant at the 2024 Intercontinental Series.
Team Renteria hasn’t announced if the Intercontinental Series will continue in 2025.