The Tenerife Marlins won the 2021 Spanish Baseball League (SBL) championship on Sunday afternoon in Valencia, defeating the host Astros 14-8 to take the deciding Game Five of the championship series. It is the Marlins’ sixth Spanish title in nine years.
After splitting the first two games of the series on Tenerife, the Marlins traveled to Valencia last weekend in what was in essence a best-of-three series. The hosts took Game Three on Saturday, giving them two chances on Sunday to claim the final victory needed to defend their 2020 title.
In Game Four, the Marlins took an early lead and never looked back. The tourists led 5-0 after three innings and kept the Astros off the scoreboard until the fifth when they scored a single run. Six runs for the Marlins in the final three innings made for a comfortable finish and set the stage for a winner-take-all Game Five.
In Game Five, the Astros took a 6-3 lead into the seventh inning, only for it all to fall apart. The Marlins offense came to life in the frame, scoring seven runs on five hits in the inning, four of the runs coming on a Rolando Rodriguez grand slam. Four additional runs followed in the eighth.
The Astros managed to get two runs back in the bottom half of the inning, but Marlins closer Antonio Noguera ended the eight-inning threat thanks to a double play and struck out two in the bottom of the ninth, with the final out coming on a fly ball to right field that set off the celebrations.
The Astros finished the SBL regular season atop the standings (22-2), with the Marlins a game behind.
CBS Barcelona in 2012 was the last Spanish champion not to hail from either Valencia or Tenerife.
2021 SBL Championship Series Results
Game 1, July 31, Astros Valencia at Tenerife Marlins, 2-8
Game 2, August 1, Astros Valencia at Tenerife Marlins, 13-3
Game 3, August 14, Tenerife Marlins at Astros Valencia, 7-9
Game 4, August 15, Tenerife Marlins at Astros Valencia, 11-3
Game 5, August 15, Tenerife Marlins at Astros Valencia, 14-8