By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
On Saturday night at Estadio Yamil Rivas in Nicaragua, Indios del Boer won their first championship since the 2014-15 Liga Beisbol Profesional Nacional regular season beating Gigantes de Rivas 4-2 in game six.
Boer has won nine titles, three of which date back to the original Nicaraguan winter league from 1956 to 1967, which eventually had to be shut down in 1967 because of economic issues. However, Liga Beisbol Professional Nacional was established in 2004, and now Boer has six championships since the new league started, the most recent in the 2014-15 season.
“After many years, it feels super great. That is a championship that cost us from the very first day, and despite not being the favorites, we always fight every game on the field,” Indios del Boer right fielder Robles told World Baseball Network via WhatsApp following the game.
Boer manager Joel Fuentes went with starting pitcher Luis Ramirez who dominated eight innings allowing three hits, two earned runs, walking four batters, and striking out 11 in route to win the Most Valuable Player of the Championship Series.
Ramirez pitched two games of the LBPN championship series, recording a 1.13 ERA through 16 innings pitched, allowing two earned runs, six hits, walking six batters, and striking out 15. Before being added to Boer for the finals, Ramirez was with Tren del Norte during the regular season. Ramirez was 6-0 with a 3.73 ERA in 12 starts, pitched 72.1 innings, allowing 72 hits, walking 25 batters and striking out 16 during the round robin.
Boer did not get on the board until the top of the third inning when Manuel Geraldo laced a single to right field, scoring Javier Robles for the game’s first run.
Gigantes got on the board in the bottom of the third inning when Roger Bernadina’s sacrifice fly to left field scored Rafael Estrada to make the score 2-1.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Gigantes tied the game up at two when Jesus Valdez tripled to right field scoring Wuillians Vasquez.
Gigantes starting pitcher Gerson Garabito went six innings and allowed six hits, one earned run, walked two batters, and struck out 12 during game six before being relieved by Victor Capellan from the bullpen.
Capellan entered in the ninth inning, attempting his third inning of work, but issued a full-count walk to Geraldo walk to lead off the inning. Nicaragua World Baseball Classic starting catcher Melvin Novoa walked up to the plate looking to be the hero and unleashed a two-run home run to left field and Boer took the lead 4-2, knocking Capellan out of the game.
“That was a happy moment, because we knew we had the game in our hands… we dreamed it and made it real,” Robles said of Novoa’s homer.
In the bottom of the ninth inning Ramirez did not come back out to pitch, and relief pitcher Olbis Parra came in to shut the door for Boer as he retired the side in order. He got Olfilio Castro to fly out to right field for the final out of the game, and Boer won the series against Gigantes 4-2.
“It is a beautiful experience since getting the last out to be champion of a league is something inexplicable, and thank God I got to experience it,” Robles said.
Indios del Boer is one of the top teams in the history of Nicaraugan baseball. The team also plays in the Campeonato German Pomares Nacional de Beisbol Superior circuit which is run by the Comision Nicaraguense de Beisbol Superior. The league will begin on February 17, when Indios del Boer takes on Los Dantos at 6 p.m. at Estadio Nacional Soberania.
For the upcoming World Baseball Classic, Nicaragua will evaluate this past winter league season and the Central American Qualifier coming up in Managua at Estadio Nacional Soberania from February 6 to 12. Manager Sandor Guido and federation president Nemesio Porras will be conferring on the team roster to take to Miami in March.
Nicaragua will go up against Puerto Rico on March 11 at noon EST in their first game of the World Baseball Classic at Loan Depot Park on Fox Sports 2. Pool D will go play March 11-15 with Nicaragua, as well as the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Israel, who will showcase Major Leaguers and high minor league players to suit up during the tournament.