By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Jan. 20, 2023
Federales de Chiriqui defeated first-season organization Atlanticos of Bocas del Toro and Colon 7-4 last night at Estadio Rod Carew in Panama City. Federales de Chiriqui won the best-of-five Probeis championship series 3-0 to punch their ticket to the 2023 Caribbean Series.
Federales will be Panama’s representative to the Caribbean Series for the first time since 2021 in Mazatlan, when they went as an invitee rather than as a national champion, as Probeis didn’t play a season in 2020-21 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Atlanticos scored the first three runs of the game in the top of the fourth inning. During the bottom of the sixth, Federales’ Ariel Sandoval unleashed a mammoth home run over the left field wall to tie the game at three.
During the bottom of the seventh inning, Federales took the lead for the first time in the game as Panama World Baseball Classic catcher Ivan Herrera rapped a single to shallow center field, driving in two runs for a 5-3 lead.
Federales did not look back the rest of the way and took full control of their destiny with solid pitching from the bullpen during the late innings. With a three-run lead going into the top of the ninth inning, relief pitcher David Richardson came in to shut the door on the Atlanticos offense, and he quietly retired the side 1-2-3.
Starting pitcher Kenny Fernandez allowed three earned runs, four hits, walking two batters, and striking out two before the Federales bullpen filled the void the rest of the way during last night’s win. Reliever Wilfredo Pereira recorded the win after replacing Hernandez in the fifth inning, going three innings, allowing four hits, one earned run, with no walks and striking out one batter.
Jhonny Santos for Federales de Chiriqui was named MVP of Probeis for the 2022-23 regular season after the conclusion of the league’s final. Federales manager Jose Mayorga became the youngest manager to win a Probeis league championship, and now will prepare the team for the Caribbean Series in the next 13 days.
Federales finished in first place for the regular season with a 16-4 record and will now go into the Caribbean Series and will likely add some reinforcements before traveling to Caracas. Some players suiting up for Panama during the Caribbean Series will also be eyed for the Panamanian World Baseball Classic roster.
Panama will be in Group A for the World Baseball Classic starting from March 8-13 in Taichung, Taiwan at Taichung Intercontinental Stadium, going up against Italy, Netherlands, Cuba and host nation Chinese Taipei.
Panama Probeis Federales de Chiriquri will open up the Caribbean Series against host nation Venezuela at Estadio de La Rinconada on February 2 at 8:30 p.m.