World Baseball Network
Venezuela opened the sparkling new Estadio La Rinconada in Caracas and the 2023 Caribbean Series against Panama, and those rooting for the home team were not disappointed.
Venezuela’s representative, the Leones del Caracas, manufactured runs and topped Panama’s Federales de Chiriqui 5-2.
Playing as the visiting team, Venezuela wasted no time, as Ali Castillo led off the game with a walk. Castillo advanced to third on Wilfredo Tovar’s single to right field when Panama’s Ariel Sandoval bobbled the ball. Hernan Perez followed Tovar and singled, scoring Castillo, giving Venezuela a run before a batter had been retired.
Panama took the lead in the bottom of the second when Enrique Valdez grounded a double play ball to second base. Venezolano second baseman Ali Castillo flipped it to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who got the force at second before making a terrible throw to first that allowed Erick Castillo and Ariel Sandoval to score to make it 2-1.
But never again would Panama threaten offensively.
Ali Castillo drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the fourth that forced Carlos Rivero across, tying the game at two. The next batter, Wilfredo Tovar, grounded into a fielder’s choice at second, pushing Wilson Ramos home for a 3-2 Venezuela lead.
Venezuela added another in the top of the eighth, when, with runners at the corners, Ali Castillo’s ground ball got through on the right side for a single, allowing Orlando Arcia to score from second to make it 4-2.
Jose Rondon’s sac fly scoring Isaias Tejada made it 5-2 in the top of the ninth.
Venezuelan starter David Ramos went five innings, allowing three hits and two runs, walking one and striking out four, and the bullpen combined for four innings of two-hit shut out work.
Panama plays in Friday’s first game against Colombia at 1 p.m. ET at La Rinconada. Venezuela will play Puerto Rico tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at Estadio Forum La Guaira. All 2023 Caribbean Series games are available via ESPN Deportes and streaming on ESPN+.