Allen Cordoba of Panama bats in the Federales de Chiriqui’s 5-4 win against Curacao in the third place game of the 2024 Caribbean Series at loanDepot Park. (Photo Courtesy of the CBPC)
By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
MIAMI – The Federales de Chiriqui of Panama defeated the Curacao Suns of Curacao 5-4 in the 2024 Caribbean Series third-place game on Friday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 10,928, a number that may have been generous.
For the first time in this year’s edition of the Caribbean Series, the loanDepotPark roof in Miami, Florida, was open for all nine innings.
Curacao took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a bloop RBI single by right fielder Aldemar Rifaela. Juremi Profar singled earlier in the inning and scored from third on the play.
Panama tied the score at one apiece when, with runners on first and third with two outs in the bottom of the second, Curacao third baseman Darren Seferina bobbled a ground ball hit by Joshwan Wright and overthrew Juremi Profar at first, allowing Johan Camargo to score from third.
Curacao took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third, with Seferina scoring all the way from first on an RBI single from Roger Bernadina.
One batter later, Jonathan Schoop smashed a two-run home run off the left field foul pole to extend Curacao’s lead to 4-1. Panama starting pitcher Heitor Tokar was removed from the game after the blast. He allowed four earned runs and six hits in 2.2 innings.
Ricardo Cespedes hit an RBI groundout to Curacao first baseman Juremi Profar in the bottom of the fourth to cut Curacao’s lead to 4-2. Profar dove to his left to make the grab and prevented Johan Camargo from scoring from second base.
Despite Profar’s efforts, Camargo scored the third run of the game for Panama on a two-out RBI single by Joshwan Wright. Cody Mincy replaced Curacao starter Scott Prins following the hit. Prins allowed two earned runs on four hits and struck out two in 3.2 innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, Panama first baseman Christian Bethancourt hit a long fly ball to right field, but it was caught 10 feet in front of the wall by Aldemar Rifaela. A home run would have tied the game.
However, a sacrifice fly by Joshwan Wright in the bottom of the sixth tied the game at four, and a solo home run to deep left field in the bottom of the seventh from Ivan Herrera put Panama ahead 5-4, their first lead and the deciding run.
A nifty scoop from Bethancourt at first base maintained Panama’s lead, heading in the top of the eighth.
Panama relief pitcher Ronald Ramirez spiked a throw toward first after fielding a ground ball hit right back at him. Bethancourt’s scoop and the third out of the inning prevented Curacao baserunner Seferina from rounding third and scoring the tying run.
Severino Gonzalez closed the door on Curacao in the ninth to secure the 5-4 win and a 2024 Caribbean Series third-place finish for Panama.
The Curacao Suns finished the Caribbean Series with an overall record of 3-4, finishing in fourth place. Their three wins came against Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua.
The Federales de Chiriqui finished the Caribbean Series with an overall record of 6-2, finishing in third place. The only two teams they lost to were Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.