LPBRC: Journeyman Escarra Heating Up For Ponce

By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network

Like the United States, Puerto Rico celebrates Thanksgiving this year on Thursday, November 23. Due to the holiday, no Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente games are scheduled.

There has been little change in the regular season standings since last week’s roundup, but there were a handful of exciting games and player performances.

Top Performers

J.C. Escarra, 1B – Leones de Ponce – Escarra has bounced around in different professional baseball leagues since being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 2017 but has always performed well for Leones de Ponce.

The 28-year-old had a standout performance in Leones de Ponce’s 8-3 victory against the Criollos de Caguas on November 19, going three-for-four with two RBI and a walk. He hit a triple in the top of the first inning, an RBI single in the third, and another RBI single in the ninth to extend Leones de Ponce’s lead to 7-3.

Escarra has a .851 OPS and eight RBI in 13 games this season thus far for Leones de Ponce.

Freddie Cabrera, SP – Gigantes de Carolina – Freddie Cabrera continued his excellent start to the season in his third appearance of the 2023-24 season in Gigantes de Carolina’s 4-2 win against RA 12 on Sunday.

Cabrera, the winning pitcher in the contest, allowed just two earned runs and four hits in seven innings. Gigantes de Carolina led 4-0 until the top of the seventh when Kenen Irizarry hit an RBI triple for RA 12, and Adael Amador added a sacrifice fly. The combination of Jose Cruz and Orlando Rodriguez held RA 12 scoreless the rest of the game to secure the win.

Cabrera is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 16.2 innings this season for the Gigantes de Carolina.

Adalberto Flores, SP – Cangrejeros de Santurce – The 37-year-old veteran is a significant reason why the Cangrejeros de Santurce sit in first place this season. Flores has not allowed a run in 13.2 innings as a starting pitcher and has allowed just seven hits.

Cangrejeros de Santurce defeated Leones de Ponce 2-0 in his last start on Thursday, November 16. Flores threw five shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out three. He was the winning pitcher in the contest.

The 2023-24 Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente is Flore’s eighth season with Cangrejeros de Santurce and seventeenth in professional baseball.

Off the Field

Guillermo “Willie” Hernandez Passes Away – One of the best Puerto Rican players in Major League Baseball history, left-handed pitcher Willie Hernandez, passed away on Monday. He was 69 years old.

Hernandez, born in Aguada, Puerto Rico, played thirteen seasons in MLB with the Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, and Philadelphia Phillies. He was a three-time All-Star and was named the American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young during the 1984 season with the World Series champion Detroit Tigers.

Before signing with the Philadelphia Phillies as a teenager in 1973, Hernandez played for the Puerto Rico national team and the Tiburones de Aguadilla in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente.

Criollos de Caguas Activate INF Yahil Melendez – On Sunday, the Criollos de Caguas activated 18-year-old infielder Yahil Melendez to the roster. The team announced the move on their official Instagram page.

Melendez was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the seventh round of the 2023 MLB draft and hit .237 with three RBI in 39 plate appearances in the Arizona Complex League. He played shortstop in seven of the 10 games he appeared in.

Melendez was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and the Criollos de Caguas reported on the team’s Instagram page he would replace second baseman J.C. Correa, who is away from the team due to personal reasons.

Current Standings as of November 22
1. Cangrejeros de Santurce – 9-4
2. Leones de Ponce – 8-5
3. Criollos de Caguas – 7-6
4. Gigantes de Carolina – 7-6
5. RA 12 – 5-8
6. Indios de Mayagüez – 3-10

Game Schedule for the Following Three Days

Friday, November 24
3:10 p.m. ET – Cangrejeros de Santurce vs. Criollos de Caguas
6:45 p.m. ET – Gigantes de Carolina vs. RA 12
6:45 p.m. ET – Leones de Ponce vs. Indios de Mayaguez

Saturday, November 25
6:45 p.m. ET – RA 12 vs. Leones de Ponce
6:45 p.m. ET – Indios de Mayaguez vs. Gigantes de Carolina
6:45 p.m. ET – Criollos de Caguas vs. Cangrejeros de Santurce

Sunday, November 26
3:10 p.m. ET – Indios de Mayagüez vs. Criollos de Caguas
3:10 p.m. ET – Cangrejeros de Santurce vs. RA 12
5:10 p.m. ET – Leones de Ponce vs. Gigantes de Carolina


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