Tiburones de La Guaira Top Curacao 6-2, Earn Berth In Caribbean Series Title Game For First Time In Franchise History

Venezuela celebrates a 6-2 victory over Curacao in the semifinals of the 2024 Caribbean Series at loanDepot Park in Miami. (Photo Courtesy of the CBPC)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

MIAMI – The 2023-24 Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional champion Tiburones de La Guaira beat the 2023 Curacao Professional Baseball league champion Curacao Suns 6-2 in front of 20,459 fans on Thursday night in Miami at loanDepot Park. 

The Tiburones de La Guaira will play the 2023-24 LIDOM champion Tigres del Licey on Friday night at loanDepot Park in Miami at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN+ for the Caribbean Series championship. 

La Guaira playing in the championship game of the Caribbean Series for the first time in franchise history. The Tiburones de La Guaira finished second at the 1983 tournament when the title was decided by overall record, finishing 4-2 behind the Lobos de Arecibo of the Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente in Puerto Rico at 5-1. 

Curacao’s Roger Bernadina smacked a double to right field to lead off the game. The next batter, Jurickson Profar, drove an RBI single into center field, scoring Bernadina for the first run of the game. 

During the top of the fourth inning, Curacao added another when Suns first baseman Juremi Profar rocked a double down the left field line scoring Ademar Rifaela to extend the lead to 2-0. 

The Tiburones de La Guaira offense did not get their first hit of the game until the bottom of the fourth inning with two outs, when designated hitter Wilson Ramos hit a ground ball off Curacao third baseman Didi Gregorius’s glove. Suns shortstop Andrelton Simmons came up with the baseball and threw the ball over to first base as Ramos beat the ground ball for Venezuela’s first hit of the game on Thursday night. 

A few batters later, Venezuela right fielder Ramon Flores drilled a line drive single into center field and Flores came in to score to make it 2-1. Flores advanced to second base on Juremi Profar’s throw to the plate from his RBI single. 

Curacao manager Hainley Statia pulled starter Nelmerson Angela in favor of Kevin Kelly after 3.2 innings. Kelly threw 62 pitches, allowing three earned runs, two hits, three walks, and striking out one batter. 

Luis Torrens then drove a line drive single to left field, scoring left fielder Yasiel Puig and Flores to take a 3-2 lead. 

Tiburones starter Miguel Romero maintained his composure after giving up two earned runs during the early innings on Thursday, lasting into the top of the sixth inning. Romero threw 97 pitches in 5.1 innings allowing six hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck out one batter on Thursday. and was pulled from the game as manager Ozzie Guillen came out of the dugout and called upon relief pitcher Jorgan Cavaniero. 

Venezuela added three more runs during the bottom of the sixth inning, beginning when Flores hit a line drive double to left field, scoring Ramos to extend the lead to two runs at 4-2. A few batters later, Tiburones first baseman Leonardo Regginato smoked a two-run RBI double to left field scoring Flores and Torrens to make it 6-2. 

Venezuela’s pitching cruised the rest of the way, with relief pitcher Arnaldo Hernandez coming into the game during the start of the top of the ninth inning, replacing relief pitcher Anthony Vizcaya. 

Hernandez settled down after giving up two straight two-out singles to Roger Bernadina and Jurickson Profar. Hernandez got Gregorius to ground out to Venezuela second baseman Alcides Escobar, who threw over to Reginatto for the final out. 

The Venezuela pitching staff allowed 11 hits, two earned runs, one walk, and three strikeouts during their semifinal win on Thursday. 

The Curacao Suns pitching staff threw eight innings, allowed seven hits, six earned runs, seven walks, and struck out five batters during Thursday’s loss. 

The Dominican Republic beat Panama during the first game of the 2024 Caribbean Series semifinals at loanDepot Park 4-1 earlier on Thursday. The Tigres del Licey of LIDOM will play in their second straight Caribbean Series championship game on Friday night at 8 p.m. EST against Venezuela at loanDepot Park in Miami. The Tigres del Licey beat Leones del Caracas at the 2023 Caribbean Series at Estadio La Rinconada 3-0 in Caracas, Venezuela. 

The Tigres del Licey have the most championships at the Caribbean Series with 11 championships and will aim for their 12th championship when they take the field at loanDepot Park on Friday night. The Dominican Republic has 22 championships at the Caribbean Series, which is the most by any country from their winter league. 

Venezuela has won seven championships at the Caribbean Series. The last time Venezuela won the Caribbean Series was at the 2009 tournament in Mexicali, Mexico, at Estadio Nido de los Águilas, home of the Aguilas de Mexicali of the Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico. The Tigres de Aragua won the 2009 Caribbean Series, going 5-1 at the event. 

If Tiburones de La Guaira manager Ozzie Guillen wins the 2024 Caribbean Series on Friday night, he will be the only Latino manager that has ever won the World Series and Caribbean Series during his managerial career. 

The championship game will be televised on ESPN Deportes. The third place game between the 2024 ProBeis Panama league champion Federales de Chiriquí and the Curacao Suns will play at 3 p.m. EST on ESPN+ at loanDepot Park. 

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