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Matanzas Takes Serie de Las Estrellas, Beats Elite League All-Stars in Championship Game

 Leif Skodnick  |    Feb 2nd, 2024 9:51am EST

The Cocodrilos de Matanzas celebrate their win in the 2024 Serie de Las Estrellas. (Photo: Miguel Rodriguez)

By Miguel Rodriguez
Special to World Baseball Network

Cuban Elite League champion Cocodrilos de Mantanzas beat the Elite League All-Stars 12-2 in five innings to take the championship game of the Serie de Las Estrellas.

Matanzas got out to an early lead when Yurisbel Gracial, the tournament MVP, drove in Yordan Manduley and Alexander Pozo with his fourth home run of the tournament to make it 3-0. An inning later, Matanzas added another eight runs. Yordan Manduley had one RBI with a double and another with a single, Alexander Pozo drove in two with a double, Yordanis Samón had one with a single and Yadir Drake had three with a home run.

The All-Stars only two runs came in the fourth when Artemisa catcher Andy Cosme hit a double with runners at the corners.

The run dealt the knockout blow came in the bottom of the fifth when Ariel Sánchez hit a sacrifice fly with runners on the corners.

Semifinals: Matanzas 10, Venezuela 0 – Cuban Elite League champion Matanzas beat the Venezuelan U-23 team 10-0 to advance to the final in the Serie de las Estrellas.

The game remained close until in the fourth inning, when the Cocodrillos scored three runs, more than enough for the opener and winner of the game Yoennis Yera. In that inning, they connected four hits, the third by Yurisbel Gracial to center, to make it 2-0. The fourth hit ofthe inning, by Yadir Drake with runners at the corners, made it 4-0.

An inning later Matanzas scored six more, ending the contest by mercy rule. Eduardo Blanco scored the fifth after an error by Venezuela second baseman Carlos Herrera. Then Yurisbel Gracial hit his third home run of the tournament with two men on base to make it 8-0. The final two runs came in due via a deflected pitch by Luis Miguel Urbano.

Left-hander Yoennis Yera threw five scoreless innings and only allowed two hits and struck out eight opponents.

Semifinals: Elite League All-Stars 8, Mexico 7 – The Elite League All-Stars beat Mexico by a score of 8-7 in the first semifinal of the Serie de Las Estrellas.

At the end of the seventh and the All-Stars down 7-3, the Elite Leaguers managed to come back sensationally. Dennys Laza hit a double, and after two outs he was brought home by a hit by Yordanis Alarcón to make it 7-4. Raúl González walked, and then Carlos de la Tejera scored drove in the All-Stars’ fifth run with his fourth hit of the event. The scene was set for Denis Peña of Las Tunas, who hit an opposite-field homer with two runners on board to give the All-Stars an 8-7 victory.

Erlys Casanova threw 5.1 innings for the All-Stars and allowed 12 hits, seven runs (five earned), walked one and struck out two.