By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
On Sunday, the Caimanes de Barranquilla defeated the Vaqueros de Monteria 2-0 in game five of the 2023-24 Liga Profesional de Beisbol Colombia championship to clinch the organization’s 13th title in franchise history and first since 2021-22.
The Caimanes de Barranquilla made relatively easy work of the Vaqueros de Monteria throughout the series, outscoring their opponent 34-18 in five games. On offense, the champions scored a combined five runs in the first two games but exploded for 18 runs in game three and eight in game four.
Caimanes de Barranquilla Win Game One 3-2 – The Caimanes de Barranquilla took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth on a fielding error from third-baseman Jordan Diaz, allowing Dilson Herrera to score.
Herrera came around to score again in the bottom of the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 in favor of the Caimanes de Barranquilla, and a wild pitch during the next at-bat extended the lead to three.
The Vaqueros de Monteria scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning on a two-run single from Andres Angulo, but the comeback fell short, as the Caimanes de Barranquilla sealed the 3-2 game one victory one batter later.
The game’s winning pitcher was Daniel Missaki, who threw six shutout innings and struck out seven.
Vaqueros de Monteria Win Game Two 9-3 – The Vaqueros de Monteria recorded 18 hits in game two to even up the series at one game a piece.
The most significant contributors on offense were second baseman Dayan Frias and designated hitter Bryan Flete. Frias went four for six with one RBI, and Flete finished with three hits and two walks in the contest.
The Caimanes de Barranquilla allowed two runs to score in the top of the third on a wild pitch from relief pitcher Luis Escobar and a passed ball charged to catcher Jair Camargo.
The Caimanes de Barranquilla defense committed four errors in the contest, and the offense struggled to gain momentum against starting pitcher Jesus Paricaguan, who allowed just one run on four hits in six innings on the mound.
The Caimanes de Barranquilla used nine pitchers in the game, and none threw more than 2.2 innings.
Caimanes de Barranquilla Win Game Three 18-2 – The Caimanes de Barranquilla scored almost three touchdowns in game three, jolting the Vaqueros for 13 runs in the first two innings.
They tagged Monteria’s starting pitcher, Eduar Lopez, for four runs in the first inning, and he was pulled after retiring just two hitters. The onslaught continued when relief pitcher Roberto Perez came into the game for the Vaqueros de Monteria. Outfielder Jesus Marriaga hit an RBI single to make it 5-0 in favor of the Caimanes de Barranquilla, and infielder Deivi Munoz followed him with an RBI single of his own to make it 6-0.
The Caimanes de Barranquilla scored an additional seven runs in the top of the second inning, including a massive grand slam from Deivi Munoz to right field. The 24-year-old switch-hitter had seven RBI in the contest, and first baseman Jair Camargo went three for three with four RBI.
Starting pitcher Victor Vargas threw 5.1 innings for the Caimanes de Barranquilla and allowed one earned run while striking out three.
Caimanes de Barranquilla Win Game Four 8-5 – The Vaqueros de Monteria made their opponents sweat, returning from a 5-1 deficit in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at five. However, the Caimanes de Barranquilla added one run in the fifth, sixth, and eighth innings to take game four 8-5.
Infielder Fabian Pertuz broke the tie with an RBI single in the top of the fifth, scoring Gio Urshela to put the Caimanes de Barranquilla ahead 6-5. Catcher Guillermo Quintana made it 7-5 in the top of the sixth inning with an RBI single, and Dilson Herrera hit a solo home run in the eighth to extend the lead to 8-5.
The Caimanes de Barranquilla bullpen shut out the Vaqueros de Monteria offense in the final five innings to secure the win.
Caimanes de Barranquilla Win Game Five 2-0 – Two runs were all the Caimanes de Barranquilla needed to win the series’ final game and clinch the championship.
Guillermo Quintana hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning to score the game’s first run, and Fabian Pertuz hit a solo shot in the eighth.
Japanese-Brazilian right-handed pitcher Daniel Missaki threw a stellar complete-game shutout. The 27-year-old allowed no earned runs and struck out 11 to lead his team to victory. Missaki was named the Most Valuable Player for the series, capping off the best statistical season in his professional baseball career. In 50.2 innings, Massaki posted a 0.89 ERA, recorded 60 strikeouts, and held opponents to a .149 batting average.
Estadio Edgar Renteria in Barranquilla, Colombia, is the home stadium the Caimanes de Barranquilla, and is the host site of the 2024 Intercontinental Series from Jan. 25 to Feb. 1.