And then there were two. In a showdown of two of the Spanish Baseball League’s unbeaten clubs, Valencia matched up with Viladecans and came took both games of the series. Meanwhile, Tenerife maintained its undefeated record against Antorcha, but not without a threat from Valencia’s second team. The fourth week of play was otherwise marked by a distribution of victories in the middle area of the table, with San Inazio the only other club to sweep.
Viladecans vs. Valencia (2-11, 1-5)
A key series for the pennant saw the Astros on the road to Viladecans with both clubs looking to maintain flawless records. However, Game One was all Astros, with the first three batters reaching base and Blake Ochoa gapping a ball that led to two runs. Lowuin Sacramento, meanwhile, continued his stellar season and ensured that Decans could not strike quickly in return.
A single run in the second preceded five in the fifth, and Valencia took an easy 11-2 decision, the third win for Sacramento, who struck out six in six frames. Of note, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Delson Guzman appeared for the ‘Stros and none of the batters he faced in the seventh connected, with the right-hander walking the bases loaded while striking out the side. After the seventh started with three more free passes, Guzmán’s day was done, but incredibly, none of those batters scored either.
The second game was much more disputed than the first. Unlike some of the error- and walk-filled games of the weekend, two of the best teams in the SBL put on a great show. Through the middle of the fifth, Alejandro Martín (Viladecans) and Ricardo Hernández (Valencia) kept the batters at bay with ace-like performances. In the fifth, Emmanuel Febles ripped his second two-bagger of the game, sparking the Astros and rattling Martín. Two walks then set up Pedro Peraza, who stroked a bases-clearing single for a 4-0 lead and his first hit of the year.
In the sixth, Miguel Catalan doubled, stole third, and came all the way round on a throwing to give Vila some hope, but Luis Galicia singled and scored in the bottom half and walked and came round in the eighth. Los Astros held on for the 5-1 win and a tie at the top of the table. Hernández (2-0) struck out eight in seven one-run innings, with Yulman Ribeiro earning his first save with two scoreless.
Antorcha vs. Tenerife (6-9, 2-12)
Antorcha gave the home fans plenty about which to cheer in Game One against fearsome Tenerife. In the third, a whopping five Antorcha batters crossed home plate. Consider the Marlins had only allowed 15 runs in six games thus far in 2021, the outburst was a shock. However, the Portuenses left the bases loaded, and Tenerife immediately answered with six hits and three runs. Torres, who had a four-hit game, and Alfonso added two more runs for Tenerife in the fourth.
Miliani entered for the visitors in the sixth with a 7-6 score and was just what the embattled Canaries needed. From that point on, although Antorcha threatened, it could do no more damage and Tenerife claimed a hard-fought 9-6 victory. Miliani tossed four shutout frames with five strikeouts and only three hits for his first save, while Noguera (3-0) won despite a 5IP, 11H, 6ER, 3BB, 9K performance with two wild pitches.
Game Two started with single runs in the first for both clubs before Leslie Nacar (4-0) righted the ship and shut down the Valencians. The Marlins, however, added another run in second and three more in the third. The following frame was all Lesther Galván, who took any remaining wind out of Antorcha’s sails with his second grand slam of the season. The final was 12-2 in seven. Galván had a pair of safeties in both games, while Richard Montiel notched a five-hit day with a round-tripper of his own in the nightcap.
San Inazio vs. Barcelona (7-1, 9-3)
A close game was looming between San Inazio and Barcelona in Bilbao until the third inning, when the home side managed to connect six hits, including a home run by Leopoldo Correa, who had already doubled in the game’s first run. The four-run frame gave Sani a 5-1 lead, tacking on two more scores to coast the rest of the way. Elio Silva (3-1) whiffed 11 in a complete game effort, with the only run unearned.
The second meeting between San Inazio and Barça began with a quality pitching by both parties. Both Giovanni Ramírez (San Inazio) and Peter Bonilla (Barcelona) dominated on the mound and the game was scoreless until the fourth. The hosts then plated a run on back-to-back doubles by Daniel Moreno and Luis Delogu, but Barcelona answered with a two-run double from José de los Santos.
However, from that point on it was all Sani, which plated four in both the sixth and eighth. Ramírez (2-1) ensured the lead would hold, going the distance and striking out nine with no walks to the eight hits. Caballero had three doubles and reached base by free pass and plunking after two hits in the opener.
Navarra vs. Gavà (8-5, 9-10)
The Catalans started ahead with a home run from Franklin Figaro, but in the third inning, two errors by Gavà allowed Navarra to score its first run. After a run for each in the fourth, Gavá quickly increased its distance with two more runs in the next frame, leaving the score 5 to 1 in its favor.
However, as is becoming customary in the SBL, there was a decisive inning that turned the score around. In this case it would be the seventh, when a succession of walks, a key error in defense, and an opportune double by Ander Albes drove in three runs as part of a five-run frame. Two more iced the win for the Navarrese club. Pedro Casado (2-0) was aces in relief, tossing a scoreless seventh and eighth with three Ks before Joel Sánchez slammed the door for his second save.
The second game between Navarra and Gavà was, without a doubt, the most disputed match of the day, though the story of the game was the multiple crucial errors on defense. Navarra Baseball took the lead in the second, scoring two runs, and in the third, CBS the Catalans would catch up thanks to a Antonio Romero home run. In the fifth, two errors by Gavà allowed the Pamplona team to score another three runs, which would be countered with a marker in the bottom half and another two runs in the sixth to knot the score at 5.
After three runs in the seventh for Navarra and two for Gavà, Roberto Valentin went yard with a game-tying home run. A scoreless eighth set up a decisive final frame, and a hit from Carlos Souza, an error, and a base knock from David Arza put the Navarrese ahead once more. With three outs needed for the sweep, two errors and two walks set up Ángel Rivas, who ripped the only hit of the inning to give Gavà the 10-9 win.
Sant Boi vs. Rivas (13-15, 18-10)
A series between two .500 teams produced a win for each club in a weekend filled with offensive performances. In Game One, Sant Boi started by scoring two runs in the first inning thanks to a home run by Edgar Rodríguez. Rivas recovered in the second inning with three hits, including a hit by Luis Vallejo. In the fourth, wild pitching by Sant Boi and an error gave CBS Rivas a whopping eight runs without a hit, making the score 10-2.
The entire match was conditioned by the walks and an imprecise pitching allowed Sant Boi to cut the gap by scoring two runs in the fourth inning, another two in the fifth and another in the sixth. The effort was in vain, as Rivas again scored three in the seventh and two in the ninth on Jesús Castillo’s home run. Rivas’ second baseman was 3-for-4 in the game.
Sant Boi was, however, on the verge of achieving a comeback time thanks to Víctor López, who stepped up with the bases loaded and launched a long fly ball that soared out for a grand slam. Oscar Jiménez followed López with another big fly, and Dan Matías stroked a RBI-double. Another hit followed, but Liván Delgado (SV, 1) buckled down and got the last out himself to preserve a wild 15-13 victory for Rivas. López was 3-for-5 with two doubles to go with his tater.
The second meeting between CBS Rivas and CBS Sant Boi had an almost identical structure to the first until the fourth inning. Although with two exceptions, the first, the game was marked by hits and not walks. The meeting reached its fourth inning with a 3-2 in favor of Sant Boi. However, in the fourth, Madrid added six runs, taking advantage of five hits and an error. In the subsequent frame, though, Sant Boi scored two, notching four in the sixth, three in the seventh, and two in the eighth to seal an 18-10 win.
López again came up big, with a double, three singles, and two walks, scoring four times and driving in four. Rodríguez added four more hits to his brace in Game One, while Matias was 3-for-5 and a triple short of the cycle.
Miralbueno vs. Toros (7-10, 9-4)
The Toros took advantage of game-opening free passes by the hosts, with hits from Okaury Montero, Háchel Pérez, and Diego Enrique Pérez, combined with an error, giving the Pamplonan side a 5-0 margin. In the second, three new hits helped the Toros score two more runs, while in the third and fourth, the Navarrese scored one more run per frame. At 9-0 and Elvis Gómez sailing on the mound, the win would seemingly be in the books, but Miralbueno struck hard against Pamplonan relief pitching.
In the sixth, Nestor Santana doubled and Robert Guzmán lined a triple as part of a two-run inning. However, it was in the seventh inning that the Zaragozans really got closer on the scoreboard. Three hits and an error caused Miralbueno to score four runs, leaving two players on base.
The Bulls managed to extend the distance in the eighth, as Anderson Martínez tripled and scored on a wild pitch. Guzmán did not have to settle for three bases on his drive in the ninth, but Miralbueno could not keep the rally going, as hits by Jass Vargas and Rubén Vernal were erased on a crucial double play by Yorking Céspedes (SV, 1). Gómez (3-1) tossed five shutout innings with six punchouts in the 10-7 win. Vernal had a triple, three singles, and two stolen bases in the defeat.
In the first inning of Game Two, the Zaragozans scored two runs in the first and fourth and were still leading 5-3 in the fifth. Miralbueno added further distance with a run in the sixth, two in the seventh, and another in the eighth. A double by Edgar Rondón and another by Hachel Pérez gave Los Toros a run in the eighth, but Miralbueno would take the 9-4 decision. Guzmán aided the cause with two doubles and a single in back-to-back three-hit efforts.
Many thanks to RFEBS for providing a daily recap, portions of which have been translated and adapted herein.
|1||Tenerife Marlins PC||8||0||1.000||0||107||23||84||4-0-0||4-0-0||8-0-0||W8|
|2||CB Astros Valencia||8||0||1.000||0||105||10||95||4-0-0||4-0-0||8-0-0||W8|
|9||CBS Sant Boi||2||6||0.250||6||64||91||-27||1-3-0||1-3-0||2-6-0||W1|
Week 4 Results (May 1-2)
Navarra 8 – Gavà 5 [Box]
Gavà 10 – Navarra 9 [Box]
Sant Boi 13 – Rivas 15 [Box]
Rivas 10 – Sant Boi [Box]
San Inazio 7 – Barcelona 1 [Box]
Barcelona 3 – San Inazio 9 [Box]
Viladecans 2 – Valencia 11 [Box]
Valencia 5 – Viladecans 1 [Box]
Miralbueno 7 – Toros 10 [Box]
Toros 4 – Miralbueno 9 [Box]
Antorcha 6 – Tenerife 9 [Box]
Tenerife 12 -Antorcha 2 [Box]
Week 5 Schedule (May 8-9)
Toros – Viladecans
Viladecans – Toros
Valencia – San Inazio
San Inazio – Valencia
Barcelona – Sant Boi
Sant Boi – Barcelona
Rivas – Navarra
Navarra – Rivas
Gavà – Tenerife
Tenerife – Gavà
Miralbueno – Antorcha
Antorcha – Miralbueno