By Matthew Tallarini, Chief Correspondent, World Baseball Network
Dec. 9, 2022
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Puerto Rico secured the top seed at the 2022 Caribbean Cup, posting their third win of the opening round, a 14-2 victory over the Bahamas.
Puerto Rico scored in the top of the first when Reynaldo Navarro roped a single to left field to score Miguel Egea. The Bahamas answered back in the bottom of the second inning when Adari Grant drove a single to left field, scoring Kristin Muneroe to tie the game at one. A few batters later, Cherif Neymour laced a single to center field, scoring Grant for a 2-1 Bahamas lead.
“At the beginning, I kinda stumbled,” said Puerto Rico starting pitcher Noel Pinto. “I kinda figured out that every time I missed a breaking ball, they’d sit for a fastball, so I just repeated my breaking ball.”
In the top of the third, Puerto Rico tied it up when Reynaldo Navarro drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly that scored Egea.
The next inning, Puerto Rico’s Ivan Vasquez smacked a ground ball to second base scoring Ruben Castro as Puerto Rico took the lead for good. Puerto Rico never looked back, piling on 12 unanswered runs en route to a 14-2 Win over the Bahamas.
Pinto pitched six innings, allowing five hits, two earned runs, no walks, and striking out eight.
Of having the potential opportunity to represent Puerto Rico in the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador with two more wins, Pinto said, “It feels great. I’m proud to wear the uniform.”
Matchups for Saturday’s second round are set, with second-seeded Cuba will facing third-seeded Curacao at 2 p.m. No. 1 seed Puerto Rico will play fourth-seeded host nation Bahamas at 7 p.m. with a chance to go to the championship game on Sunday and earn a berth in the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games.