Tenerife and Valencia each continued its relentless pace as the co-leaders of the Spanish Baseball League while Viladecans righted the ship after its first losses last weekend, but a surprising sweep by Antorcha and a pair of victories by Navarra re-wrote the middle of the table. Lack of success at home continues to be a theme in this year’s SBL, with visiting sides now 22-16 through five weeks even when excluding the Marlins and Astros (a combined 10-0 on the road).
Valencia – San Inazio (7-3, 9-3)
The Astros earned the sweep at home, but it was not easy for the Valencian team, which was met by a solid San Inazio that played two good games without being able to claim a win. The first game was marked by a constant batting rhythm for the Astros, who managed to score three runs in the first inning, one in the second, one in the third, and one in the fourth before coasting to the victory. Two of the first-inning scores were on a round-tripper from Blake Ochoa, which Luis Delogu equalled in the second. In the eighth inning, another home run, in this case by Leopoldo Correa, brought San Inazio slightly closer at 7-3, but that was all for Game One. Yosbany Torres (2-0) tossed six innings of two-hit, one-run relief, whiffing six and walking none.
The second game in Valencia had a similar tone to the first, though it was Michel Rodríguez who homered for two runs in the opening frame. It was 6-0 by the time San Inazio scored in the fourth, with Edison Valerio and Rodríguez going back-to-back in the third. Delogu launched one over the centerfield wall in the seventh, but it was too little, too late against Lowuin Sacramento (4-0), who notched 9 Ks in seven frames.
Gavà – Tenerife (4-19, 4-6)
Game One began in favor of Gavà, as Roberto Valentín gave the hosts a two-run advantage after two batters with a big fly to dead center. In the following half-inning, the theme of the game emerged as Tenerife scored two runs without a single hit on three walks and an error. The home side struck back in the third on a two-run triple by Eric Giménez and must have felt hopeful with a rare lead on the Marlins.
Disaster struck in the fourth, though, as five straight walks to open the frame led to two pitching changes and two more free passes, with teenager Ricardo Mendoza making Gavà pay with a three-run jack, the only hit of the inning.
From this point, it was all Marlins, though the hosts offered plenty of help. Four runs would cross in the fifth, another five an inning later, and run No. 19 in the seventh. Each of the innings included at least one free pass, including four-straight to start the sixth. In total, Catalan pitchers put 21 men on base via four-ball counts in seven innings, permitting 13 hits, and striking out only a pair. The scorching hot Jesús Ustáriz went 3-for-4 with a home run, while José Meléndez drove in five via a single, double, and three walks. Lesther Galván led the team with four freebies, scoring four times as well.
At the beginning of the rubber match, both Leslie Nacar for the Marlins and Gavá’s Samil Cuevas knew how to control the game. The game started in the third inning, thanks to three runs from Tenerife, scored, in part, by two errors in defense of Gavá that could cost them the game. Franklín Figaro ripped a solo shot to get the Catalan side on the board in the fourth, but in the bottom half in the inning, Tenerife added two more. The formula was similar: two walks and an error by the youthful Gavà.
Given the results of the first game, that would have appeared to be that, but the hosts jumped on the bullpen after Nacar exited, with Eusebio Salas greeting Tenerife’s new pitcher with a double, scoring on a Figaro one-base knock after Valentín singled. Ángel Rivas doubled both home and suddenly, Tenerife held only a 5-4 lead. The Marlins would hold on, however, with Andres Pérez entering for the ninth and punching out two for his first save. Nacar (5-0) whiffed 11 around two hits and a walk in five frames.
Miralbueno – Antorcha (12-0, 1-3)
Valencia’s lesser-known club was the story of the weekend, blasting Miralbueno 12-0 in Game One thanks to a masterful display from Javier Sánchez. Antorcha accumulated 19 hits and 10 walks, though the output was gradual, with a 3-0 lead through four and 7-0 margin through six. Miguel Vargas led the way with a 4-for-6 performance that included a double and three RBI. Édgar Aineto, Daniel Torres, and Cristián Aineto all had three hits, while Alfonso homered and doubled. Sánchez sent down 15 on strikes, the most by any Spanish pitcher this year, surrendering only three hits in nine innings to improve to 2-2.
If the first game was very comfortable for Antorcha thanks to great pitching and a good hitting, the second had a different feel. Both Albert Flores for Miralbueno and Valencia’s Engelbert Álvarez pitched solid games before rain suspended the contest in the fifth inning. Antorcha struck first with a run in the bottom of the second, but Moisés Grance got the Zaragozans on the board with a solo shot in the following frame. Miralbueno’s hopes of a win ended in the bottom of the third, though, when Edgar Aineto hung a “2” on the scoreboard with a longball to left center. Neither side could score again before the rain set in and Álvarez (2-1) came out on top despite Flores’ (2-2) six strikeouts in four innings.
Toros – Viladecans (0-10, 7-8)
Jorge Balboa and Francisco Sánchez held the Pamplonians to only three hits in the game, while the Toros saved their star pitcher Elvis Gómez for the second game. Viladecans scored two in the opening frame, while a Maddiel Perez home run led to a four-run fourth, with the team duplicating that number in the seventh and final inning. Balboa (4-1) struck out 10 in six frames, walking four, but allowing only two hits.
The second match between Los Toros and Viladecans was probably one of the most exciting, contested and competitive matches in the league. Those from Pamplona started very strong. A walk to the team’s first and second batters allowed Edgar Rondón, undoubtedly one of the best hitters in the league, to homer, driving in three runs. One more Toro would cross home before Vila could answer with two markers of its own.
In the fourth inning, Anderson Martinez scored after a wild pitch and several steals and throwing errors. Later Francisco Kingsley hit a home run to center field with the bases empty so Los Toros managed to advance two runs leaving the score 6-2. In the fifth inning Viladecans recovered with a home run by Javier Monzón on the left that drove in three runs.
The controversy — and probably the key moment of the game — came in the sixth inning. Aderly Grullón reached first on a walk. He stole second and a throwing error moved him to third base. At the dish, Roger Porcar dug in for a battle with Gómez, hitting several fouls with two strikes before a curveball high in the zone was called a ball.
Pamplona’s pitcher protested the decision without asking for time and Grullón took the opportunity to steal home for the game-tying run. Gómez’ next pitch was a hard fastball that hit Porcar on the ankle. The Catalan hitter ran to face the Toros’ moundsman. At that moment the entire bench of both teams jumped onto the field before both managers calmed the atmosphere. The conflict ended without expulsions.
The baseball gods may have been watching, however, as Porcar would later come around to score on a Pérez two-run double. Rondón went yard again in the eight to narrow the deficit to 8-7, but Alejandro Martín slammed the door in the ninth for his second save. Eric Páez earned the win with an incredible 7.2 innings of relief, punching out seven and allowing only two hits. Gómez (3-2) struck out 12 in an eight-inning complete game, with six of the runs earned.
Rivas – Navarra (5-16, 2-12)
It was a relentless start to the game for Navarra, which already had a 3-0 lead after three batters following two walks and an Rafael Rivas round-tripper. That tone would remain throughout, with six more in the third also scored on a mixture of free passes and key hits. Five runs would score with one out in the fourth for CBS Rivas, but a runner interference meant the inning ended on a double play. Navarra then iced the game with a seven-spot in the sixth. Víctor Reyes went 4-for-5 with a double for the victors.
The second game was also a mercy rule finish for Navarra, which scored in almost every inning. Its linescore went: two runs in the second, four in the third, five in the sixth, and two in the seventh. Reinaldo Rodríguez looked cool and collected with the ever-increasing lead, throwing a complete game for his first win (1-3), sending down eight on strikes. Reyes had another two-bagger and a single, but Jhon Gilson García led the way with a 4-for-4 game, driving in three and scoring an equal number of times. The impressive effort raised his average from .240 to .345 for the year.
Barcelona – Sant Boi (3-6, 6-3)
Barcelona had one more hit than Sant Boi in Game One, but stranded runners in key situations, committed five errors, and put 10 runners on first without making contact. It was, in fact, two errors and a free pass that helped the Blues score their first three runs in the third inning.
Barça reacted in the fourth inning scoring two runs led by Jostin Castillo and Alfonso Salcedo and managed to tie in the sixth. Daniel Matías went yard for Sant Boi in the seventh to break the 3-3 deadlock, and the following inning resulted in another unearned run. The ninth saw a single progress into three walks in-a-row and a 6-3 final. Peter Bonilla (0-2) struck out 11 and walked six in seven frames in the loss, while Eric Izquierdo (3-0) tossed a complete game.
In the second game of the Catalan derby, Barcelona finally achieved its first victory this season. If there was a decisive entry in the contest, it was the sixth. Until then, the score was 2-1 in favor of Sant Boi, though Barça’s pitcher, Jesús da Silva, caught Víctor López attempting to swipe home with two out in the Blues’ two-run first. In the sixth, Barcelona loaded the bases with no out and Reinier Torres, Jeyson Gainza, and Giannis Martínez cashed in, stroking consecutive run-scoring safeties. A walk then scored a fourth run, while a fifth was erased on runner interference and the bases were left loaded.
Although each side would score once more, neither came close to erupting, particularly after Bladimir Luciano entered for Barcelona, closing out the game with two hitless innings for the save. No Barcelona player had more than one hit, though Sant Boi’s López walked five times across the two games.
Many thanks to RFEBS for providing a daily recap, portions of which have been translated and adapted herein.
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|CB Astros Valencia||10||0||1.000||0||121||16||105||6-0-0||4-0-0||8-0-0||W10|
|CBS Sant Boi||3||7||0.250||6||73||100||-27||1-3-0||2-4-0||2-6-0||L1|
Week 5 Results (May 8-9)
Toros 0 – Viladecans 10 [Box]
Viladecans 8 – Toros 7 [Box]
Valencia 7- San Inazio 3 [Box]
San Inazio 3 – Valencia 9 [Box]
Barcelona 3 – Sant Boi 6 [Box]
Sant Boi 3 – Barcelona 6 [Box]
Rivas 5 – Navarra 16 [Box]
Navarra 12 – Rivas 2 [Box]
Gavà 4 – Tenerife 19 [Box]
Tenerife 6 – Gavà 4 [Box]
Miralbueno 0 – Antorcha 12 [Box]
Antorcha 3 – Miralbueno 1 [Box]
Week 6 Schedule (May 15-16)
Marlins – Rivas
Rivas – Marlins
Navarra – Barcelona
Barcelona – Navarra
Sant Boi – Valencia
Valencia – Sant Boi
San Inazio – Toros
Toros – San Inazio
Viladecans – Miralbueno
Miralbueno – Viladecans
Antorcha – Gavà
Gavà – Antorcha